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Review: Half a Person

GT reviews a new play all about Morrissey


Smiths fans are generally an articulate bunch, and inspired by their leader, Morrissey, often find themselves submerged in the works of playwrights Shelagh Delaney and Oscar Wilde. Therefore, in a darkened room, and with the sounds Hatful of Hollow and the crackle of a cheap record player, a play based on Smiths songs has no doubt been daydreamed by numerous Smiths devotees. Half a Person is one such play, and it has come to fruition with its run at London’s King’s Head Theatre, following sold-out performances at the Lowry in Salford.

Perhaps unlike the plays from the bedsit daydreamers, this one starts with the image of a burley Eastern European man with only a yellow towel covering his modesty. And soon enough, that is removed. Then the story backtracks, and you learn how William has ended up here, via cafes, theatre bars, cemeteries and romantic encounters. True to form, William overly romanticises in Morrissey-esq fashion his relationships with the girl of his dreams and his best friend, all set to a backdrop of Smiths songs, and sang live by Joe Presley who plays William.

Half a Person may be a one man show, but Presley excels, moving between excitement, desolation, song and tears with ease, keeping his audience entertained with every step and breathe.

Perhaps the subject matter and Morrissey’s own divisive character means Half a Person may never be exposed to a large or mainstream audience, but a Smiths fan, Morrissey fan or a fan of independent theatre will find this an enjoyable way to spend an evening.

To pick up tickets, visit the King's Head Theatre website

GT gives it 3/5

Words: Mark Farrell

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