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The Rolling Stone

By Chris Urch

Royal Exchange Theatre, 24 April 2015

Robert Gilbert as Sam and Fiston Barek as Dembe in THE ROLLING STONE by Chris Urch.  Photo by Jonathan Keenan.

Robert Gilbert as Sam and Fiston Barek as Dembe in THE ROLLING STONE by Chris Urch. Photo by Jonathan Keenan.

Dembe is gay, a Christian whose brother Joe leads the congregation of their church.  When there is a threat that his sexuality will be exposed – we are in present-day Uganda – he becomes anxious, takes fright.

Chris Urch’s play grabs your attention right from the get-go and holds it fast throughout.  ‘Fast’ is the operative word, actually, for the play drives forward at a breakneck speed.  There’s no let up at all.  And though the odd polemical point is made (how could this be omitted in an intelligent play?), it is the fate of these people – above all, what will become of Dembe and his lover Sam – their lives and predicament, that becomes your overriding concern.

A fine play, with splendid performances throughout, notably from Fiston Barek (Dembe), Sule Rimi (Joe) and Robert Gilbert (Sam). The Rolling Stone is at the Royal Exchange Theatre until 2 May.  Further details can be found here.

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