Away From Home is a highly engaging one-man play, about one football fan’s struggle to be truthful about his day job. That fan, Kyle, is a Liverpudlian escort – selling his body for money, living a double life. The play begins after he’s spent the night with someone, leaving in a hurry to meet his match-going friends Johnno and McQueen. We’re then transported back in time as Kyle tells us just how the meeting came about in the first place.
Ward gives a compelling and credible performance throughout. Alone on the stage, he moves around the space portraying his friends, his family, his camp agent Vincent and his lover – the unnamed Premier League footballer who plays for the opposition, the “scum.” He equally captures the spirit of the beer-drinking and chanting football supporter alongside the rough and ready sex machine.
There are many moments of wry humour, and Ward has the perfect intonation and comic timing necessary to draw his audience into his world. His portrayal of maintaining a difficult relationship with his family, especially his father, will chime for many. Kyle has to choose between his preferred lifestyle or pleasing his family, and the decision he makes leads to the very climax of the play. He portrays the more tender moments with poignancy; for example a hospital scene played out in parallel is particularly touching.
As much as I enjoyed the production – and I certainly did enjoy it – I found the ending a little too abrupt. Its suddenness caught me unawares, and it took me a few seconds to remember where the story had left off at the beginning so that I could piece it all together again. Momentarily I was thrown.
But all in all, this was a well acted, cleverly written and creatively directed piece of theatre. A hilarious reference to the World Cup this summer even brings the script right up to date. And it will certainly resonate with many people who are hiding their sexuality, or have had to deal with the issue of coming out to people who just “won’t talk about it.” Like the motto of the club mentioned in the play, perhaps this will inspire them to seize the day.