Park Theatre, London – until 14 April 2018
Guest reviewer: Nicola Louise
Hate crimes are, unfortunately, still prevalent in the LGBTQ+ community; Vincent River portrays the aftermath of these horrific events.
Set in a flat in East London, the play centres around two characters, Anita and Davey. At first, it’s quite hard to establish the connection the two share but that just adds to the emotions of both people on stage.
Anita (Louise Jameson), a grieving mother, lost her child Vincent in an awful way. He was found beaten and dead in a hot spot known for gay activities. Anita hides her hurt well, clearly in denial. She also attempts to hide the fact her child was gay, something she didn’t want to face during or after his life.
Davey (Thomas Mahy) is the character who walks into Anita’s life – he was the one who found Vincent. When this comes to light Anita wants to know more. She wants to know what he was doing there and how he came across her child’s body.
The show will take you on an emotional journey and I struggled to keep my tears in at various points. Both actors portrayed the emotions of love and hate very well and by the end, I found myself just wanting them to be friends and to bond over the loss they both endured.
My only issue with this show is with the character Davey. I felt the director and the actor tried so hard to stereotype young men in East London, down from the way he spoke to the way he acted when Anita asked him questions. His anger is justified but there were a couple of lines where I was left wondering why he burst out into anger like that.
Vincent River, written by Phillip Ridley is a new and refreshing play focusing on the plight of hate crime on the LGBTQ+ community and it’s an eye opening, emotional piece of theatre. At only 80 minutes long you don’t find yourself looking at your watch, you’re hooked on every word the actor is saying, wanting to know more, wanting to see how the story unravels.