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<2h>The Play

“Don’t go standing on any balconies!”

” Black comedy about quantum physics, psoriasis and serial killers. martin watches too much telly; it’s having a bad effect on him and he treats his mum something rotten. He’s got a vicious streak in him. They are both trapped in a TV twilight wold of soundbites, clichés and jingles. Dennis Tuck, s door-to-door salesman, trying to come to terms with his own existence and the nature of the universe, holds them hostage with a potato masher.

A hilarious comedy about life, death, and the universe. Jim Madden’s play explores TV and the effect it has on its audience and the philosophy of life according to a man who has lost it all.Brilliant Dialogue”. Andrew White – Southern Daily Echo

The Nasty Boy of the title is indeed a snarling, sneering, foul-mouthed, aggressive, feckless youth, mindlessly channel surfing and too idle even to change out of his pyjamas. Or so he would like us to believe, though writer Jim Maddens drops enough hints that he may not be quite the bully he would like to be.

His mother, apparently in a world of her own, hoovers around him, ignores the increasingly scabrous insults and makes him a cup of tea. Into this bizarre household, the bastard offspring of an unnatural union between Joe Orton and the Royle family, comes Denis Tuck, a sweating, ingratiating door-to-door salesman who, since we’re on the subject of unnatural unions, might well be the result of a chance encounter between Arthur Miller and Quentin Tarantino.

Jim Madden himself plays Tuck as he attempts to sell the family a potato masher, chopping board, cleansing fluids and snap-top plastic buckets among other things. His sales pitches, in a desperate attempt to get the family’s attention away from their own bickering, take flight into elaborate, even rococo rants on the weirdest subjects up to and including particle physics.

Bludgeoned into awestruck silence, the son finally realizes that if he is going to make himself “interesting” by acting “disturbed” he is going to have to go some way to cope with nutters like Tuck. The mother ends up with a handful of household goods she doesn’t want. And Tuck goes on his way.

It’s a very weird little piece this, very funny in parts and black and disturbing in others. The production is unhelpful, not at all sure of what tone it is trying to adopt and only Madden himself comes close to the level of violence in the performance that matches the language. But there is something going on here in the writing that is worth watching.

Robert Dawson Scott

Friday, 10th August 2001

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2001

Production by: Komedia Productions
Venue: Komedia Roman Eagle Lodge
Author: Rose Foley
Publication: The List Festival

This is an uncomfortable play; not because it is badly written, but rather because it is so well written and performed that the niggling tension and incredible claustrophobia of the stage spills over into the audience. Confronted with the potential tragedy of a ‘nasty’ layabout telly-addict and his pension-drawing mother trapped in stasis and at constant logger heads one has to have a penchant for the Royle Family-style humour to find it amusing. If you don’t, you’ll begin to feel like the arriving door-to-door salesman; forced into their company the potato masher becomes more and more attractive as a means of gaining some peace and quiet. Jim Madden certainly proves that Sartre was right: hell is other people.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2001

Production by: Komedia Productions
Venue: Komedia Roman Eagle Lodge
Author: Kate McGrath

Martin watches a quiz show on TV; his mother starts hovering around him; the tension mounts. Jim Maddens’ new play is an image of domesticity gone wrong: the central relationship between mother and son is utterly negative, each bullying and balking at the other, each resigned to each other’s damaging company. Madden’s self-conscious stylised writing echoes the absurdism of Ionesco in its repetitious circularity, added to by Michael Kirchner (Martin)’s frantic delivery and crazed smile.
There are moments of dark humour as mother and son’s intertwining monologues link psoriasis and murder, and a terrible salesman figure (played by Madden) arrives and is unwillingly dragged in to the claustrophobic world they inhabit, only to crack up himself.
The acting is weak, and the best thing about this play is the potential of the writer, who builds up the pace and hysteria brilliantly only to let it ebb away at the end, leaving us with only the noise of the ever-present TV set droning on like the lives of the characters we have briefly met.