Thursday, 21 July 2016

FOUR STAR REVIEW Stalking the Bogeyman at Southwark Playhouse

ACCORDING to statistics one in five women and one in six men in the UK have been sexually abused or raped as children.
These chilling figures, from charities and agencies that offer help and support to the victims, also suggest that only six per cent of perpetrators are held accountable.
Fortunately things are improving in terms of more victims coming forward and the issue of rape becoming less of a taboo subject.
And in part it is thanks to those victims who are brave enough to come forward and tell their stories.
One such is David Holthouse, an American investigative journalist whose own experience of being raped at seven years old by a childhood friend led to him writing his play Stalking the Bogeyman.
It is a devastatingly frank account of what happened to him and the consequences of that night. It has just opened at the Southwark Playhouse and although at times difficult to watch it is a play that is vital and important.
Starring Gerard McCarthy as David, we see how he is befriended by the Bogeyman, a grade A student, 10 years his senior and who he idolises.
But one fateful night this teenager rapes David and his whole life changes. Initially David cannot tell his parents, he is scared and in pain and has been told by the Bogeyman that if he tells his parents they will not only not believe him but will hate him. 
But over time David tries to bury the secret and get on with his life. He works hard and gets a good job as a journalist, but he cannot escape the man who raped him. 
So much so that one day, David plots to kill him. He buys a gun, a silencer and stalks this man for a year, working out his plan.
Despite the grim subject matter it is a play that demands to be seen.
It is heartbreakingly sad, gripping and intense and the audience is sent on a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the 75 minutes.
Gerard McCarthy leads a superb cast as David - brilliantly showing the innocence of being a seven year old happy to play computer games with his idol to having that taken from him in the cruellest of ways through to his life as an adult, it is an astonishing performance.
Ultimately this is an incredibly important play - brutal and honest but with a message of hope and also a plea to those who are too afraid to speak out - that they come forward, expose the perpetrator and break the silence.

Stalking the Bogeyman is on at the Southwark Playhouse, Newington Causeway, until August 6. Tickets cost £20. Visit or call the box office on 020 7407 0234.

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