London’s multitude of theatre venues have played host to many gritty and brilliant shows over the past year, but arguably the most poignant of 2016 was The Bunker Theatre’s ‘Tonight With Donny Stixx’ – a one-man-show that had audience members laughing, crying and grimacing in fear.
The electric 80-minute show starring Sean Michael Verey tells the story of Donny Stixx, a young boy who committed a heinous crime that lead to him being dubbed The Most Hated Boy Alive by the tabloids…. However, Donny doesn’t care about the crime, or his tarnished reputation, all that Donny wants is to be famous.
Transferred to London from the Edinburgh Festival, Tonight With Donny Stixx is a black comedy by playwright Philip Ridley, and here are five reasons why it was one of London’s best shows of the year:
1. Sean Michael Verey
Let’s get this one out of the way first; Sean Michael Verey is absolutely outstanding as the sole actor in the show. Playing Donny Stixx, and performing an 80-minute monologue in the process, Verey showcases his raw talent by bringing every single other character in the story to life flawlessly.
Keeping the attention of an audience for the entire play run-time must be no mean feat, but with the help of Ridley’s incredible script, Verey turned an empty stage into an entire world as he told us the story that in turn made the audience laugh out loud, sob genuine tears, and even jump out of their seats in terror due to Donny’s terrifyingly unpredictable behaviour.
Recounting Donny’s entire life up until that point, audience members were able to watch him grow from a young boy to an awkward, aspiring magician, to a desperate and fame-hungry entertainer, trust us when we say that you will never see a performance quite like this again.
2. There Are No Gimmicks
When we say that it is just Sean Michael Verey on stage, we literally mean it.
There are no props, no set, no gimmicks – it is just one man, dressed in just a T-shirt and a pair of jeans, performing a colourful, multi-layered and fascinating story with nothing but a great script and raw talent.
And let’s be honest, when you have those two ingredients what more could you possibly need?
3. It’s Gripping
Put simply, there really isn’t any time to get bored when watching Tonight With Donny Stixx.
The story is as gripping as the acting and the audience were on tenterhooks throughout the show as they waited to find out what heinous crime Donny had committed, and what it was that got him there.
It’d have been easy for the climax and consequent conclusion of the play to be disappointing following all of the suspense, but we are pleased to report that it is completely worth the wait and emotional investment,
4. It’s One Of A Kind
We have honestly never seen a show quite like this before, and we reckon you’d be hard-pushed to find somebody who couldn’t say the same.
5. It Sticks With You
Be warned: This isn’t going to be your average trip to the theatre.
Tonight With Donny Stixx isn’t the kind of show that you can enjoy passively before catching the train home, having a nice cup of tea and forgetting all about it.
This is a show that will play on your mind for the days if not weeks after you have watched it; you’ll be incessantly telling everybody that you meet to head down to the theatre to watch it for themselves – and then enjoying the opportunity of having somebody new to discuss it with.
As you can see, it’s certainly safe to say that Tonight With Donny Stixx was one of the best London plays of 2016, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that it returns to the stage in the New Year too.