Taking one of Doctor Who’s companions as inspiration, Jonny Brace’s play That’s Ace starts with our sole (seen) character, played by Tiffany Marina Pearmund, struggling to put a condom on a dildo at school.
It takes a while to settle in, but this play – reviewed at a relaxed performance, so some effects may have been muted or omitted – develops into a funny and touching queer coming-of-age story.
Brace (writer and director) has a way with language that is often hilarious and very in tune with his characters. In Ace, we see an awkward teen immersed in pop culture and figuring out her feelings.
Set in a club, sticky floor, overpriced bar, unwelcome groping, and all, Ace raises a laugh by arriving too early and asking the DJ to play ‘Cliff Richard or Joe Longthorne’.
Using the full extent of the Pit space, including moving within the audience benches, That’s Ace showcases a stellar performance from Pearmund, both nervous and assured.
Her Ace, with her assumed name on the front and back of her jacket with a range of Dalek badges, waits for her friend Sasha to turn up – the friend who she supported through a messy break-up and introduced to the Tardis.
I loved the awkwardness of learning the mechanics of sex, the bravado after a few drinks (vodka and coke!) , and the intrusion of a pushy lad with a potty mouth where we only hear Ace’s reactions.
This is an accomplished and clever piece of theatre, where you don’t need the cultural references to enjoy it. Making at least six invisible characters real through strong writing and staging makes That’s Ace stand out.
There are two more performances of That’s Ace on 16-17 Mar, both at 6.30pm. Tickets here.
Photo credit: Andrea Pavlou