At the butt end of the aspirational Aids’ obsessed ‘80s three men are struggling to make sense of the American Dream in Howard Korder’s Pultitzer nominated Boys’ Life which opened at the King’s Head Theatre on Monday.
Jack, Phil and Don are reluctant to leave the frat house lifestyle behind and face up to life in the adult world with all its responsibilities and relationship issues. So they slump, wasted in a haze of too much cheap pot and booze, on the bed and talk about women, or lack of them, or how to get them or how to keep them.
If this sounds like an American version of Men Behaving Badly you wouldn’t be far wrong. Depressive Phil has hang-ups about losing his hair and confronting the future while the misogynist, Jack, hides a wife and son so he can play around, and the hapless Don (Matt Crowley) struggles to form a relationship with a waitress.
Throughout the drama the three unlikely lads attempt to make some sense out of their lives – and fail pretty miserably. We learn that Jack’s wife is the high-flyer, juggling an executive career with motherhood, while her resentful other half shambles around dishing out ill-thought out advice to his friends.
The women in Boys’ Life are little more than window dressing in a story that gives a glimpse into the evolution of man from Neanderthal traditionalist breadwinner to bewildered modern metrosexual.
There are some great comedy scenes throughout. Don, somehow, becomes ensnared with a spaced out girl with mental health issues. He makes a feeble attempt at escape before the brains in his rather unattractive underpants take over the decision-making process.
They’re a testosterone-fuelled trio with not much of a handle on the female of the species.
Transferring from the Etcetera Theatre, Camden, Boys’ Life offers some fine performances from all three leading men. Max Warrick’s Jack comes across as an unlikable sleezeball while Luke Trebilcock’s long-haired Phil acts a waster and is just as obnoxious in his treatment of women.
Actually, even Don, who at least strives towards the tradition of marriage, has a hiccup along the way. They’re not a particularly likable bunch but their reprobate lifestyle is deftly directed by Sebastien Blanc.
Boys’ Life runs until June 23. For tickets call the box office 0207 478 0160 or go online www.kingsheadtheatre.com