Kill Me Now, Park Theatre London, review: An unflinching portrait of disability

Honesty, taboo-busting humour and compassion pack an emotional punch

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The Independent Culture

Canadian dramatist Brad Fraser has never been a respecter of the pieties. His story of the relationship between Joey, a severely physically disabled 17-year-old, and his widower father Jake, who has given up a promising writing career to look after him, packs all the more powerful an emotional punch for its honesty, taboo-busting humour and compassion.

In Braham Murray’s pitch-perfect European premiere, Greg Wise, on splendid form, after a long gap from stage-work, shows you a fiercely devoted parent who has become a bit too dependent on being irreplaceable. But Oliver Gomm’s convincing Joey is now reaching belated puberty and wanting to move into a flat with his cocky pal Rowdy (hilarious Jack McMullen) who has mild learning difficulties but no sexual inhibitions. Jake is agonised that Joey, by contrast, can’t even masturbate. A reassessment becomes drastically necessary when Jake himself goes into steep physical decline.

In its discomfiting black comedy and unflinching truthfulness about disability, this play is up there with Peter Nichols’s Day in the Death of Joe Egg.

To 29 March (020 7870 6876)