Never Mind the Bollock!
“Growth” by Luke Norris, Roundabout at Poole Park, 17 Sept 2016.
The world of “Tobes” Piper is turned upside down when the sudden end of his relationship is followed by a shock diagnosis. As he faces the consequences of unthinkable surgery, the play shows his anger towards medical practitioners, his ex-girlfriend, and friends who try to lighten the mood with their banter.
“Growth” aims to tackle the serious issue of testicular cancer in a humorous way. The use of three actors to portray a larger cast sometimes causes confusion about who is speaking, in particular the identity of female characters seems to blur in one sequence of conversations between Tobes and his friends.
At times the characters seem to lack depth, especially the men who all have anger management issues and / or an obsession with football. However, maybe the intention is to show the struggle which some men have in dealing with emotions.
The use of humour is spot on, with much laughter resulting from male embarrassment over issues below the waist. “I’ve only got one ball, “ explains Tobes apologetically to a potential partner. “Like Hitler?”, she retorts, quickly adding, “.. erm, I’m not saying that you’re like Hitler !”
The play succeeds in relating the main character’s journey from a nightmare in which time seems to have stopped, towards a new maturity and emotional “growth”. Never mind the bollock, here’s to the future!