Stephen Powell, It’s A Wise Son

Review in Issue 9-2 | Summer 1997

This was a truly interactive piece of theatre from the very start. Stephen Powell burst onto the stage, having been delayed because of the FA Cup celebrations nearby. Straight away he developed a warm rapport with a small and already amused audience. He moved them to the front of the auditorium, ‘Just climb over the seats, madam!’ Next we were told not to worry ‘if it’s a little different from rehearsal’, as Powell distributed various props among the audience with a smooth but genuinely funny, music-hall jocularity. The order of the seven pieces was determined by the pulling of numbered balls, and we were off!

The sections were all narrated from the confines of a prison cell, created simply from light. As Powell adopted the character of an ageing lifer, he seamlessly blended stories and character, so that the audience were always drawn in and had a sense of the event rather than just the concept behind it.

During the course of the show, audience members were asked to participate fully, using all the various props at their disposal, which all did willingly, due largely to Powell’s consummate and hilarious Hancock-like charm. His skill seemed to lie very much in his ability to connect to intimate memories that the audience had forgotten they’d ever had, and in developing a conspiratorial bond with all around him, so that the audience were genuinely moved and tickled at the same time. It’s been some time since I felt so welcome in the theatre.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 1997

This article in the magazine

Issue 9-2
p. 23