The brilliantly named Poor Michelle Theatre Company are a graduate company trying to make commercially viable work with a young focus. Their new show Harry, which premiered at the N16 theatre in London is a funny, thought provoking look into celebrity culture. The show centers around two girls’ obsession with One Direction singer, Harry Styles.
We enter a preset of university freshers giving out biscuits and talking to the audience about uni life. The
girls then talk us through their university life, punctuated by the music of One Direction. The girls become somewhat obsessed with Harry Styles and start a dedicated CSI mission to meet him.
The highlight of the play, is the explanation of how they intend to find him – it involves looking at the boroughs
marked on bins and cross referencing with google maps. It’s all very impressive and really brings the
obsessive nature of fans to the forefront.
As the play goes on, it starts to become less about Harry styles, and more about mental health and growing apart. It becomes tender and honest. The girls don’t have huge fights, they don’t want to kill each other. One just gets a boyfriend and one gets a job. It’s awkward. It’s slow. It’s truthful.
The chemistry between the two characters, is palpable, a classic strait woman funny woman relationship. They build connections with the audience who where all as far as I could see in their early 20s. For a play to get so many young people into the theatre, and at noon, that is an accomplishment in of itself. The piece isn’t by any means perfect as occasionally the story telling is a little heavy-handed and sometimes the audience are just being told what to think. There was also a lot of drawing on the ground with chalk. Unfortunately as the stage was raised and the audience were not, it wasn’t possible to see what was being written. And so whilst this was a nice idea, it ended up losing impact and becoming pointless.
I don’t like One Direction, I doubt I ever will, but Harry isn’t about them. It is secretly a gentle and sensitive play about the loss of friendship and it is truly touching.
Harry is playing at Underbelly until August 27. For more information and tickets, go to https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/harry