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The Theatreguide.London Review

How To Curse
Bush Theatre       Autumn 2007

Nick is a troubled young man with no social skills and a photographic memory of the hundreds of books he has read. His only friend is Miranda, whose only reason for visiting him from time to time seems to be to borrow books.

Nick is obsessed with Shakespeare's Tempest and convinced that with the right magical ingredients (which include a pint of milk and a jar of Marmite) and the right assistants, he could call up a storm like the one that opens that play.

He's got his Miranda already, and finds what he thinks is his Ariel in Will, a local rent boy.

Nick brings Will back to his place but almost scares him away with his weirdness. He then locks him in. Will invites Nick to cut him with a knife, but Nick cuts himself instead. Nick almost acknowledges that his interest in Will is sexual. The trio try the magic spell, which works, though only Miranda seems to notice that. Miranda moves on, Will moves in.

Ian McHugh's play is not a play, but three rough character sketches searching for a reason for being in the same room. Even as character studies, only Nick makes much sense, if you consider being-troubled-and-therefore-not-making-much-sense making sense.

Cast and director do what they can to make the characters and plot hang together from minute to minute, but they are ultimately defeated.

Gerald Berkowitz

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Review of How To Curse - Bush Theatre 2007


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