Letter to Boddah
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall
Watershed Productions’ Letter to Boddah is set in the disabled toilet in Tesco. Billy (Kyle Fisher) and Neil (Jordan Reece) are best mates and are on a mission to blow up the store.
The play’s title is inspired by a suicide note left by Kurt Cobain to his imaginary friend Boddah where he says, “it’s better to burn out than fade away.” This is a taught darkly comic drama exploring the lives of these two white, working-class men who are idealistically staging a war against austerity Britain and Tesco.
Billy has prepared a suicide bomb in his backpack and, with ten minutes to go before they detonate the bomb, tensions are running high. They are dressed in military fatigues and pumped up to the task in hand, but doubts begin to seep in as the clock counts down. Neil is more anxious: “mum's doing steak and kidney puddings today. I ain’t dying on a steak and kidney pudding night.”
They share memories and stories of their lives. Neil has a childhood secret that he needs to share, but that will have devastating consequences. Neil’s abusive father has severely influenced his life and Billy has still to come to terms with his father’s suicide. They are tortured individuals but not really terrorists; they have a private war to undertake. But will they carry out their mission?
Billy has a massive panic attack with doubts filling his head and Neil, who was originally doubtful, finally takes over the mammoth decision.
Both actors give powerful performances showing both their strength as well as vulnerability but firmly rooted in their northern humour.
It’s a moving, dramatic piece of theatre
Reviewer: Robin Strapp