Declan Bennett in Boy Out The City: Press night review by Stephen Vowles 

Without a doubt Declan Bennett cuts a rather dashing and debonair figure on stage. He is clearly on a mission and creates with great skill that of being a good storyteller through very well written and executed conversational set sections of dialogue. 

His emotional range is wonderful and the way he evokes his reactions as to what life has thrown at him over the past years is a raw, very honest look in fine detail at his past present and future. Bennett is a beguiling man and offers a hugely entertaining and extremely funny look at his life and the circumstances of dealing with the unexpected at all levels – spiritual, mental and physical. 

Growing up in Coventry and dealing with school bullying; trying to reinvent  himself after being called queer, fag and so on; deciding that conforming to social stereotypes was not for him, he heads for the bright lights of London, to become the man he knows he is. 

At times Bennett is clever as he slows the pace of the monologue down to resemble a gentle stroll down memory lane that fits in with his temperament of now moving to the the idyllic country town of Wallingford in Oxfordshire with his boyfriend, who then leaves him to take take a job in the USA. 

Here Bennett looks at loneliness, his religious upbringing, and this section of the piece has poetic quality and elegance to it that is very moving; especially  when he talks about getting testicular cancer at the age of 23 and his decision to fight with it all the strength he can muster. He looks at friendships being tested and strained, being worried, and living in what he describes as a controlled chaos.

Bennett gives an enthusiastic and energetic performance and as the piece comes to an end we get a stunning look at how he dealt with his inner demons and panic via punchy well written suggestions on how to do the same post lockdown. This is invigorating theatre and one of the best one-man shows out there that explores the emotional rollercoaster that we all get to ride. Remarkable! 


Boy Out the City by Declan Bennett runs to Saturday 13th November at The Turbine Theatre. Tickets

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