After Callie meets Sara, the two unexpectedly fall in love. Their first kiss provokes a violent attack that transforms their lives in a way they could never anticipate.
Written and first performed in 1998, STOP KISS is still as potently relevant now as it was back then.
Sometimes a show is so great it’s hard to find words to put it into context other then “go and buy a ticket.” This is the situation I find myself in with Stop Kiss. The original text is so well written it’s hard to fault, each character has such depth that it allows the audience really feels like they get to know each one, even in such a relatively short run time. This is matched by the superb acting across the whole cast and faultless direction. As the relationship builds between Callie and Sara the audience can’t help but route for them and also feel Callie’s frustration when dealing with the outcome of such an awful situation. The audience has real anticipation and energy as they watch this relationship build, even when the tragic outcome is known.
This character led piece brings a real spotlight to the problem of homophobia in big cities, a place where we are often too complacent and it’s hard not to draw parallel between current events and the time this was written in the 90’s. It’s clear not enough has changed. It’s a show however that doesn’t just fall back on tragedy, it’s laugh out loud funny and has real depth.
The movement of the story between current events and the past is seamless and really builds empathy from the audience for the relationship of the main characters. The sound and lighting design for these transition is effective without being distracting and helps with the shows truly polished feel. Both of which are totally charming and you can’t help but route for them as their relationship builds.
While the whole cast is very strong Suzanne Boreel really sets her self apart in the role of Callie. She is definitely one to watch for the future, her acting in every scene in which she is in almost every one is superb and mesmerising.
This is the first show under Andrew Beckett, the new Artistic Director of the Above the Stag theatre and what a remarkable start it is! I can’t wait to see how he works with this venue in the months to come, if every performance is at this standard it’s going to be a very strong season for this fringe venue!
Stop Kiss is on at the Above the Stag theatre until the 1st of December, tickets are £22.50 and can be booked directly from the the Above the Stag website.