Belfast Boy, Spotlites, Venue 278, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Purple Penguin Productions
Kat Woods (writer and director)
Greg Fossard
Running time

Martin (Greg Fossard) is an insomniac. He has been referred to a series of hour long sessions through the NHS to get to the underlying reasons for lack of sleep. This show is witness to his first hour’s session that unlocks the destructive course his life has taken since living as a child through the Troubles; how he deals with being gay; his use of drugs; the deaths of his parents and a move to England to escape UVF reprisals because of his brothers’ involvement and the ultimate shocking root cause of his personal troubles.

In a black box space, the single prop is a chair. Greg Fossard makes a tentative and utterly believable entrance as Martin, displaying all the defensive, twitching, thigh rubbing nervousness and swearing like a sufferer of a version of Tourette’s recognizable in young man so far out of his comfort zone. He answers the silent questions from the invisible therapist but takes on the voices and mannerisms of other characters with energy and conviction. As a Scouser, his take on the accent of a Belfast boy who has moved to England sounds pretty convincing, as do his others like the posh doctor and a Brummie.

Under writer Kat Woods’ meticulous direction, Fossard nails his character with the precision of a Belfast riveter as this diva dancing victim who unburdens more than he expected to in this one hour session. By the time the therapist’s timer pings, and the harsh exposure has been made, the eyes of Fossard’s vulnerable Martin are glimmering with tears that are surely echoed in spectators of this heart wrenching performance.

This intense, moving and absolutely unmissable play is based on the true events in the life of Martin Hall, a friend of writer and director Kat Woods.

6th Aug -31st August 6.10pm