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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Theatre Royal Winchester
A 20TH century classic is brought bang up to date in this somewhat challenging new play.
Alan Silitoe’s short story and film, starring Tom Courtenay, has been relocated to London post-riots and Olympics.
Colin is a disaffected young offender who finds a love for distance running.
The play is extremely personal and direct.
Colin shares his thoughts with the audience as he runs his big race, with his story told in flashbacks.
The simple set is hugely effective. A treadmill runs across the stage and Elliot Barnes-Worrell does spend at least half of the hour and 30 minutes of the production running on it.
Innovative use is also made of projections of the riots, the Prime Minister and backdrops.
The play is deliberately modern, from the language the cast convincingly use to the references to Westfield Shopping Centre but without this seeming laboured.
Barnes-Worrell deserves praise for his role.
The physical act of running while delivering his lines must be challenging enough and he makes ‘angry young man’ Colin sympathetic.
He is given good support by a young cast.
The play tackles some challenging issues that we must all face – just what has gone wrong in our society and whose fault is it?
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