American Premiere of critically acclaimed British comedy opens at Urban Stages
By: Patrick Christiano
Angry Young Man, a satirical comedy by award winning playwright Ben Woolf about Yussef, a surgeon from an unidentified Middle Eastern country who comes to London after a bungled operation in search of work, is an entertaining little gem. When Yussef doesn’t realize how far the airport is to central London, a cab driver cons him out of all of his cash, and he is left stranded in a park talking to the ducks.
With no friends or money and a limited command of English his plight couldn’t be bleaker, or could it? Yussef’s madcap adventure becomes decidedly dark when he meets Patrick, a revolutionary who decides to take him on as a project and leads him into London’s underworld, where people, Yussef believes are his friends, continue to screw him. Jussef has a terrifying encounter with Skinheads and all sorts of mishaps with bizarre characters while being used by Patrick as a prop for his revolution.
A superb cast meticulously helmed by Stephen Hamilton keeps the fast-paced farce moving at a deliciously brisk pace for 75 minutes as madcap indignities are unrelentingly thrust upon Jussef. The gifted ensemble of four includes Christopher Daftsios, Rami Margron, Max Samuels, and Nazli Sarpkaya, two men and two women, intermittently play Yussef and the other misfits he encounters. They seamlessly switch roles and accents with comic panache playing broad physical comedy that never becomes dull under Stephen Hamilton’s clever guidance.
The cast is costumed by Yuka Silvera in identical oversized suits that set a perfect comic tone for Jussef’s awkward struggle of being lost in a foreign land and lost in his own skin as well.
The evening may be an entertaining charade, however there is no hiding the bigotry just beneath the surface underlining the real struggle of immigrants here and everywhere. You may laugh at playwright Ben Woolf’s farce, yet his candy-coated message is no laughing matter.
Angry Young Man opened at Urban Stages, 259 West 30th Street in New York on March 23, 2017. The limited run at Urban Stages is through April 9th and will be followed performances at Guild Hall in East Hampton from May 31 through June 18.
The schedule at Urban Stages, 259 West 30th Street, is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7pm, Saturday a 3pm & 7pm and Sunday at 3pm. No evening performance on March 29 and April 5th. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or at www.urbanstages.org Student Rush tickets are available for $15 (with valid ID, subject to availability).
Click Here for Opening Night Photos by Barry Gordin
Photos: David Rogers