Jimmy Porter, the lead character in John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, is a character most audiences find difficult to like.
Showing this week at the Spring in Havant, Bench Theatre’s production boasts a perfectly unlikeable Jimmy, played by Mark Woodhouse. His slightly hunched posture and threatening presence create an air of unease, with Jimmy’s volatile nature played with gusto. In moments where he allows himself to really live in the character, the actor is capable of delivering a powerful performance.
Porter’s long-suffering wife Alison is played with sensitivity and a very human subtleness by Robin Hall. Liz Donnelly as Alison’s friend, Helena Charles, and Pete Woodward as Alison’s father, Colonel Redfern, give distinct performances, with lovely work on the characters’ physicality.
Live music from trumpet player Jonathan Brocklehurst is a treat, with a well-deserved bow at the end.
Sam Treharne as the Porters’ neighbour, Cliff Lewis, gives a standout performance. The subtlest of facial expressions or body language tells the story of not only his character’s feelings but the whole situation. His touching performance binds the show together.
A thoughtful and emotive performance that doesn’t always hit the mark but is powerful when it does. Until Saturday.