Theatre Review: West End transfer shouldn't be out of the question for Paperboy

Sam Gibson (15), from Killinchy, Co Down plays Young Tony in Paperboy at the Lyric
Jane Hardy



The Lyric theatre


THE era of the Troubles has been successfully pinned down by many playwrights from Christina Reid to Stewart Parker and Marie Jones. What made the premiere of Paperboy at the Lyric Theatre so great last night was its attention to ordinary life.

Tony Macaulay's bestselling memoir works well because it's a truthful account of his growing up in the Shankill. It's about the paper boys' rivalry, his first crush and the fact she prefers fast Trevor. In other words, although you get details of the bombs (and bomb scares), it's about the way life continues.

This faithful, clever adaptation, with music by the inimitable Duke Special and words by talented librettist Andrew Doyle, worked a treat. With star-in-the making Sam Gibson in the title role, the production by Youth Music Theatre UK made us laugh, made us nearly cry and above all, made us relive the 1970s.

Throw in some Bay City Rollers references and the joint rocked. Stand-out numbers included No Son of Mine, sung by the paper boy's dad.

You feel Paperboy deserves a much wider audience and with a few tweaks, mainly to do with shifts of tone, a West End transfer shouldn't be out of the question. See it if you can.

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