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Review: Boys on the Edge, Live Theatre Studio, Newcastle

AS a mother of a three-year-old boy, who is pregnant with what has a 50% chance of being another, I don’t think I thought last week’s theatre trip through.

AS a mother of a three-year-old boy, who is pregnant with what has a 50% chance of being another, I don’t think I thought last week’s theatre trip through. Boys on the Edge was to be a trio of male monologues, delivered by three characters on the cusp of adulthood and written by the same number of emerging female writers.

It followed 2010’s successful fairer sex counterpart, Girls on the Verge.

Laura Lindow’s Mine, starring Niek Versteeg offered a truly unnerving snapshot in the life of Joe, a 14-year-old boy who had retrenched to the misleading safety of his bedroom and broadband following the separation of his parents.

Told through a series of one-sided webchats, recorded confessions and lessons, the disturbing narrative unfolded and inspired this audience mother to ban laptops, bedroom locks and pilates classes at all costs.

The powerful and ultimately tragic I Am Legend, by Bridget Deane heard new recruit Johnny’s story (Matt Doherty) as he waited to be rescued from the Afghan desert, reflecting on and evaluating his existence. The army had offered him a way out, but couldn’t erase the memory of what he’d been and would return to.

Alison Carr’s Clint was a heart-wrenching account of the oppression and abuse suffered by the very special Clyde (David Tute), who wanted to reach out to the wide world - particularly his only friend, papergirl Jinny - soak it in and get in a round of Haribos.

Performances by the young actors were terrific, particularly since these were lengthy, sometimes complex pieces delivered in the intimate confines of Live’s studio space.

This was an evening telling three very different and compelling stories, united in a testosterone-soaked brief and delivered via a coming together of wonderfully bright talent both on the page and on the stage.

They did, however, combine to keep me awake with anxiety of what the future held for my own little fella and any others who might join him.

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