THEATRE REVIEW: Lawrence Wilson's Tiny Volcanoes, Liverpool Everyman
I SAW Tiny Volcanoes at Latitude last year when it was still a bit rough around the edges but showed real potential. It was a delight to see it polished and even more energetic at the Everyman tonight.
THOSE with a sensitive ear to strong language, an aversion to dodgy David Cameron impressions or with BNP membership should probably avoid Liverpool writer Laurence Wilson's latest concoction.
But if you're not flustered by swearing or adult themes and like to question your own beliefs as well as those of others then this Marmite play could be your show of the year.
Never a fence-sitter, Wilson has created a devil's advocate in theatrical form, pitting two best-friends against each other - one fervently proud to be British, the other a soon-to-be dad unconvinced this country will provide a future worthy of his unborn son.
They are everymen, ordinary blokes asking whether optimism is possible in a world where the NHS is under threat and their fellow citizens are eyed with suspicion because of their religion.
Their concerns cause them to break away from the jolly tour of Blighty they have, according to the plot, been employed to perform.
Some sketches work better than others - a Universally Challenged quiz show with Kevin Harvey playing all the contestants from David Cameron through Ozzie Osbourne to Colonel Gadaffi and a scene where a grown-up son comes out of the closet as a Muslim are belters.
A politician's speech which gradually morphs from the words of an (almost) reasonable man to a hate-mongering racist is grippingly sinister.
But some of the dialogue in the play gets lost because the actors are not anticipating the audience's laughter.
Harvey and Michael Ryan are extremely likeable with performances that crackle with energy. Tiny Volcanoes, like all the best satire, shows how laughing at the problems of Broken Britain can make you take them seriously.
Four out of five stars