THEATRE REVIEW: The Shy Manifesto starring Theo Ancient at Greenwich Theatre studio


WHERE?: Greenwich Theatre (studio) RUN TIME: 80 minutes (without interval)

WHEN?: 3/2, touring UK until 4/3/19 Details

Navigating the challenging terrain of social media is tough enough for adults but what must be it like for teenagers at a time when cyber bullying is rarely out of the headlines?

  • Read on for reasons including why you should grasp this chance to see Ancient in an intimate venue

17-year-old Callum is proud to be shy, worships ‘shy-cons’ like Alan Bennett and Morrissey and thinks you should be like him. Except he’s still coming to terms with his drunken behaviour at the end-of-term party and is gripped by the fear of what will happen next.

We’re here at the sold-out, 70-seater studio venue of our local theatre because we saw this monologue’s star, Theo Ancient, in the awards-laden Harry Potter and The Cursed Child and thought he was the best thing about it.

Little could we have known that his work on this fine new project was put on hold because of his Harry Potter casting straight out of RADA.

Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 07.03.24

Or that the author of The Shy Manifesto, Michael Ross, would die (see below) less than a fortnight before tonight’s performance. He was a British playwright who was a graduate of the Royal Court’s Young Writers Programme whose plays were performed at the Arcola, the Southwark Playhouse and Old Vic Tunnels amongst many others.

Director Cat Robey takes us inside Callum’s bedroom as Ancient has us in the palm of his hand for over an hour explaining what it is like growing up in Bournemouth as an outsider whose enthusiasm for shy radicalism is shared only by a solitary female friend.

Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 07.03.04

Callum makes for engaging company as he explains his own body issues, how he never wants to have sex and his loathing of a new arrival in his class who is making attempts to befriend our narrator.

What follows is never predictable, frequently funny and Ancient is so whipcrack smart that time in his company passes effortlessly.

The Shy Manifesto is explained across 27 dates at 20 venues up and down the country until 3 March. Don’t miss your chance to see the impressive Ancient is such intimate studios because he’s destined to return soon to grander stages in larger venues.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Greenwich Theatre. Tickets
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