Foam ★★★★ Finborough Theatre | Mar 19 - Apr 13, 2024

Based on a true story, Harry McDonald's Foam recounts the life of Nicky Crane, a young gay man who becomes a Nazi. We first meet Nicky as an uncertain 15-year-old loitering in a public toilet where he meets Oswald Mosley, the notorious British fascist. As part of the British underclass and driven by desires he can neither understand nor control, Nicky feels himself to be both socially and sexually powerless. Mosley's appeal to the youngster is to give him that sense of empowerment he so desperately lacks. In the ensuing scenes, we see Nicky play out his new persona and explore the erotic nature of his transgressive political posture in a series of encounters. His political choice gives him the sense of control he craves, but his sexual proclivities inevitably subjugate him. When his story concludes, he is succumbing to AIDS. He continues to rage and resists being put in a wheelchair, the final expression of his lack of control in a world in which he has struggled with self-loathing and marginalisation. Jake Richards puts in a compelling performance as the inarticulate and simplistic Nicky who is victimised by both society and his own self-hatred, and Matthew Baldwin is a wonderfully menacing and manipulative Mosley. Foam is not an easy ninety minutes of theatre, but it seems very relevant, as it exposes how alienation can create a political class which can be exploited to the point of betraying even their own interests.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Craig Fuller

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