Sharply-written speech is a very powerful tool and in the delivery of a well crafted monologue, it is imperative. Written by Simon Perrott’s and superbly directed by Joseph Winters, In Conversation with Graham Norton is one of the best one man shows I have seen in a long while. There is an eagerness to please in the way the wonderfully cast Jay Parsons performs. He has a natural talent and the pace and almost poetic quality he gives is rather exceptional. This is the story of Mark a 17 year old teenager who finds solace and approval by talking to an autographed picture of Graham Norton who he believes understands his problems and the trials and tribulations he faces as a young man still in school who is being bullied – both mentally and physically – by a girl (who under the threat of being found out reverts to a person where butter would not melt). The play is very funny with Mark detailing how, more often than not, if he sees a hot guy on the tube he gets an immediate erection. How he admits to having lustful thoughts about his gym teacher, he ponders about anal penetration and the fact that he enjoys masturbation. Perrot is also keen to show a darker side to this teenager’s anxiety. A sombre side, the effect of sibling rivalry, an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy and the thought of ending his life.
This is a well rounded piece of emotionally charged theatre that demonstrates a very simple fact that if you have someone to talk to, the old adage of a problem shared is a problem halved, still rings true. A charming and heart-felt one act theatrical experience.