In Conversation with Graham Norton
There’s a note in the programme for In Conversation with Graham Norton stating that ‘Graham Norton does not appear in this production’. This would hardly seem to matter as he was clearly the inspiration for Simon Perrott to write the piece having been told by Mr Norton after a conversation on his radio show in June 2016 to ‘crack on’ with the writing. And while not physically there, his presence is nevertheless strongly felt.
Simon Perrott’s new play In Conversation with Graham Norton is effectively an exceptional monologue, brilliantly performed by Jay Parsons as Mark, a confused seventeen-year-old struggling to come to terms with his sexuality.
Having heard Graham Norton on his parents’ radio, Mark imagines himself on that radio show deciding he would rather talk to a picture of Graham Norton than his family or friends. His worries range from his boldest dreams about Dermot O’Leary, concerns about sex, most remarkably his fascination with female genitalia, to his proclivity to get uncontrolled erections on the tube! He also has a cat called Kylie, but there will be no spoiler here as to her particular predicament at Mark’s hands! There is also the darker side when he turns to social media groups to explore similar anxieties and the deeply concerning solutions offered.
The Safety Dance by Men Without Hats is a recurring theme that is played several times and is Mark’s favourite song and lyrically is the embodiment of his life, concerns, confusions and ultimately loneliness.
We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
'Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance
Well, they're no friends of mine
|Jay Parsons as Mark|
After a successful debut in September 2018, In Conversation with Graham Norton returns to the Hope Theatre until January 26. With an excellent, efficient touch, director Joseph Winters has capitalised beautifully on the incredibly skilful and witty, yet ultimately heart-breaking scenario created by Simon Perrott. Jay Parsons as Mark stunningly embodies his life and soul with an emotionally deft, funny and mesmerising performance. This is one wonderful conversation that should not be missed.
In Conversation with Graham Norton runs until 26 January at The Hope Theatre
Produced by Connor J Matthews at Batavia Productions
Photographs by Liam Fraser Richardson
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