Some of the show’s strongest moments are George’s interactions with the audience. George gets the audience to help him film an Instagram video. With one person on camera, and another prompting him, George launches into an ‘inspiring’ speech as a spotlight closes in on him. When things don’t quite go as planned he’s not afraid to lay the blame on his helpers. This scene is hilarious, and it’s a testimate to Livesey that he never loses his polished, affected air, despite dealing with the wildcard of audience responses.
However, at over an hour, the show does feel too long to be so one note. George changes very little over the course of the show. It doesn’t feel like there is any significant character development. While this does make sense for a character so devoid of self-awareness, it does get a little old watching George prance around the stage, talking nonsense. It doesn’t help that George is that type of character you want to slap in the face. Perhaps if we had heard more of George’s interactions with other characters the performance would have had more texture.
I was left wondering what the purpose of this show was, other than to make people laugh. The play is a satire about power and privilege, but I felt that these themes could have been teased out to make the points more effective. The show did highlight the ways that people in power are interested in maintaining the status quo at all costs. George rants about people who riot, saying that they only do so because they are too stupid for a civilised debate. This is the way people talk when they have never been ignored, forgotten and rejected. We have all heard this type of sentiment in the real world, and The Boy, George does well to highlight its ridiculousness. I would have loved to see more of this social critique through out the rest of the show.
The Boy, George is a fun romp, with some great laughs. Livesey is certainly a talented actor with a gift for comedy. This show may leave you wanting more thematically, but it will still be a great night out.
The Boy, George is currently showing at BATS Theatre until Saturday 23th March. It is part of the Wellington NZ Fringe Arts Festival. To book tickets, visit the BATS Theatre website. To find out more about the Fringe Festival, visit their website.