Sugar Baby

A great performance but the script has some issues

★★★
theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Sugar Baby
Published 12 Aug 2017

Marc is one of the busiest guys in Cardiff. He's a dealer with the Fairwater Cannabis Cooperative. His dad's £6000 debt to Oggy the loanshark needs sorting. He also ran into Lisa from school who needs help escaping from Oggy's clutches. The self-described star of his own action film, Marc is a larger-than-life character with high stakes, relentless drive and pure magnetism.

Alex Griffin-Griffiths attacks Alan Harris' monologue with an unwavering, volcanic energy. He is a working class everyman with plenty of heart, wit and a cracking vocabulary. The character and the performance are a great marriage in a small, in-the-round theatre. There's no set or props, but none is needed with Griffin-Griffiths' extraordinary vigour.

The performance masks several problems with the script, though. The ending is so rushed that it's unclear quite how the primary conflict is resolved, and the final moment feels like it was cut off rather than winding down naturally. The resolution is a big jump, both in time and style, from the action leading into it, with no mention of what actually happened. Elements of fantasy appear as tension rises, though they aren't carried through consistently.

Griffin-Griffiths' performance gives this production much of its value what with the shortcomings in Harris' script, particularly towards the end. It's a frustrating experience, particularly as the text generally works until that point. Marc's story is a fantastically unrestrained adventure tale, but it just doesn't manage to hold itself together.