Fanboy, Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol

WHEN is door not a door? When it’s ajar. So goes the old riddle, or in the case of this 65 minute play written and performed by Joe Sellman-Leava, when a door is used as a canvas onto which video images of Joe’s father are projected. Using these images and those of a highly talented junior schoolboy, flashed on a small TV screen, Joe takes us on a ride through the (as he sees it) heavily flawed life from schoolboy to just turned 30 years old.

The oft-used term on many a school report “could do better”, certainly sums up his life, and that of the majority of the human race, over the past few generations. They have been given a beautiful world, and set about destroying, rather than preserving it. In Joe’s opinion we pay lip service, through people like David Attenborough, (of whom, along with Boris Johnson and Michael Caine, he does a terrifically lifelike impersonation), in defence of nature but we achieve little.

Politically, with Brexit taking the brunt of his attack, the record is just as miserable. To quote the Gus Khan lyrics: “The rich get rich and the poor get poorer. In the meantime, in between time, Ain’t we got fun’.

As far as Joe’s cynical father is concerned, those words are right on the button. Life is all predestined ­– so sit back enjoy the privileges that come your way, and to hell with apologising for the past or worrying about the future.

The bright sparkling young Joe on the TV screen has three Ws on his tongue – why, what, when. What should 30-year-old Joe tell him, his fathers cynical beliefs, the truth as he sees it, with advice on how to make a better job of stewarding this earth, and providing a better social and political playing field. Or, as with all previous generations, teach him truth, honesty, and fair play, leaving him to make his own successes and failures.

Showing remarkable timing, Joe holds often highly agitated conversations with the two video images, making them seem live rather preset images and recoded speech.

You may not agree with every, often-contentious point of view Joe challengingly puts forward, nor, unless you are an obsessed afficionado of the Star Wars films, The Muppets Christmas Carol and Nintendo games, follow all the clever comedic and dramatic references in the script. But after an hour plus spent in his company your mind will certainly be left buzzing with questions about life and the way we live it.



Fanboy was on for two nights in Bristol

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