Image: 5pound5 Theatre
Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious may have been a junkie and an alcoholic (and, let’s be honest, not much of a musician), but he was PUNK.
More than anyone else at the birth of the punk movement, he kicked against the system and spat in the face of polite conformity.
For Craig, living in a world that just eats people up and spits them out as mindless zombies, a place where people leave him and are never seen again, this long-dead anti-hero is all he has to keep him on the straight and narrow, to keep him from joining all the other sheep.
And he’s not having a good day.
Leon Fleming’s punk-rock one-man play about hero worship transfers into London’s West End after a UK tour, starring Dario Coates (Coronation Street, ITV; Another Country, Chichester Festival Theatre & Trafalgar Studios West End) and directed by Scott Le Crass (Cancel the Sunshine, The Hope Theatre).
This new 50 minute one-man play features a “mesmeric” performance (Theatre Wales) from Dario Coates as Craig, best know for playing Alex Neeson on long-running soap opera Coronation Street.
Sid is directed by one of the UKs most up-and-coming young directors, Scott Le Crass, who has been directing new work in London’s Off West End for over 8 years.
Adolescence can be a difficult time for some people with anger, resentment and rebellion combining in a heady cocktail of emotions, liberally detonated by a rush of uncontrolled hormones.
And as this play shows, the period of time it takes for someone to become comfortable in their own skin can be a frustrating endurance test.
Craig is a young man in his late teens, or possibly very early twenties.
He lives with his mum but doesn't know anything about his dad.
He rails against almost anything and everything which 'normal' society has to offer, or the people who inhabit it like his girlfriend's parents ("fascists"), "studenty" types with their "Hollister identikit" fashion, bankers that he wants to "kick the shit out of" and much else besides.
Throughout each waking moment - and, one suspects, even his dreams - Craig continually finds "new reasons to scream".
In spite of that, this isn't really a play about punk or Sid Vicious, even if they are continually at the forefront of Craig's daily life.
No, this is a play about finding identity, personality and belonging in a world that feels decidedly brutal, mass-produced and disconnected.
Knowing little about his father and how he came to be, Craig feels he is "the product of no-one".
The action takes place in Craig's bedroom - with walls lovingly adorned with images of Sid.
When we first meet Craig he's packing a couple of t-shirts (and almost nothing else) in preparation for a trip to see his girlfriend who's just gone up to university.
After several excruciating hours on a coach with "old ladies sucking toffees", he ends up at his girlfriend's place "gagging for sex" which, he claims, he's extremely good at.
Sex, however, has to wait as the pair head-off to the pub where the weekend takes an extreme turn for the worse when Craig has to face posh-talking students who wind him up into a punk-driven frenzy.
Dario Coates takes on the role of Craig in a short, 50 minute piece.
And one quickly realises why the play is relatively brief.
Mr Coates' outstanding, frenetic performance is like a wound-up elastic band which has just had the tension abruptly released.
Hardly pausing for breath, he eye-balls the audience and responds to their laughter as he rattles-off the lines without any glimmer of hesitation.
And this is a very funny play at times, though later on there are sad moments (inevitably, given the nature of the piece) especially after Craig gets back from his disastrous weekend among the academics.
Mr Coates is superbly served by Leon Fleming's wonderfully-written, uncompromising, expletive-riddled script, which incorporates terrific one-liners as well as carefully-crafted phrases such as "plasticised mediocrity", lending the play substance and also demonstrating that Craig is not simply a head-banging fool, devoid of intelligence or feeling.
The story - entertaining and compelling though it is - tells us little that is revelatory or unique, though it's certainly one that will resonate with the many who struggled to find themselves in their early years of adulthood.
But, with an extraordinary, exhausting and totally riveting performance from Dario Coates, Sid is simply unmissable.
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