Review: Faun at Alphabetti Theatre

Review: Faun at Alphabetti Theatre

Faun by Vinnie Heaven

Alphabetti Theatre – 29th March 2023

I am delighted to have attended this beautifully crafted story which has several messages to impart. Faun tells the tale of Ace, a transgendered young person who has found themselves homeless and is sofa surfing just to survive. This in itself poses many challenges for young Ace, not least of which is placating the homeowners to ensure that they do not end up on the streets. As we join the action, Ace is onto sofa number 13 which belongs to couple Paige and Anthony. At the beginning of the play, Ace is convinced that they have found the perfect balance of being the ideal house guest and generally making themselves useful or invisible  depending on the circumstances. Their situation is made all the more complicated by the fact that they are slowly but surely turning into a ‘Faun’ – a half-person/half goat creature for reasons they are not entirely sure of. 

Ace is played by Aitch Wylie who gives a measured performance reminiscent of Fleabag in that they have many asides to the audience where they announce what they are thinking as opposed to what they are saying. Ace gets the audience onside right from the start and as their predicament becomes more perilous, we all feel their desperation and ultimate salvation. Nyah Randon is domineering as digital marketing manager, Paige who along with her boyfriend, Anthony, played by Afton Moran provides the needy Ace with a sofa to crash on. 

The set for Faun is necessarily simple but it is beautifully dressed and used to maximum effect. The lighting is excellent and the sound quality very good indeed. There was no difficulty in hearing any of Vinnie Heaven’s wordy libretto. Direction by Debbie Hannan was fluent and carefully thought out and all the props and costumes were cleverly appropriate. 

The acting from all three of the company was excellent providing rounded characters that were believable and genuine. The text challenged the actors with some heavy subject matter but also hilarious comedy moments. Moran, as Plant, really tickled my funny bone with their facial expressions and they had to because Plant does not speak. They came into their own later in the show as Stag – a glorious anthropomorphic drag queen-esque deer which they played with sass and more than a little sex appeal. 

In the words of author, Vinnie  Heaven, they wanted to highlight the extra energy and strength some people require to exist in the space they have to call home, and it is a job well done. While this show celebrates the queer and transgender community quite unashamedly, I think that anyone will get something from this production which touches on homelessness, estranged families, understanding yourself and being the best possible you, you can be. Will Ace get the happy ending they are looking for? Will they get a permanent home to call their own? Will they find love in unexpected places? Well, you will just have to get yourselves along to see this joyous and celebratory play, performed by threeimmensely talented actors, and ultimately make up your own minds. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this production and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone for a thought provoking and thoroughly enjoyable night (or matinee) out. 

Faun by Vinnie Heaven runs at the Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle until Saturday 15th April with tickets from pay what you feel to £15.

Review by Stephen Stokoe

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