There are two things that have to mentioned when it comes to this review of Gary Thomas’s stunning play The 49 , the power of the narrative and the trio of young actors that with a full commitment to this story achieved a lasting impression. The play opens with Carlo played by Aaron Douglas leaving his home town of Jacksonville and heading towards Orlando so he can be himself along the way he meets Jessica played by Jasmine Holeness -Dove and a friendship and a mutual respect and love for each other blossoms. Pulse the club quickly becomes the night spot where they can feel safe and a have good time, here is where Carlo meets and falls for Tom played by a very watchable Harold Addo. Carlo’s character also acts as narrator and this adds a very poignant and ironic tone to his speeches direct to an audience that knew what was going to happen but were still intrigued. The build up to the atrocity is very well paced and the last few minutes become a fitting tribute to the people that were murdered.The abruptness and chaos and the disbelief of what was suddenly going on around them inside the club as the gun men let fire is beautifully played by the 3 actors with Jasmine putting her body in the shape of a ball almost fetal as if wanting to be born again. The 43 minute running time is sharp and with the added explosion of the single gun shot echoing behind the actors ears you get a real sense of the horror of that night . An awesome theatrical devise could of been used here where the running time could of been extended to 49 minutes, perhaps a minute for every lost soul. Thomas has written an inspiring tribute to the people that lost their lives that night and there is a very memorable line in the play where Carlo says,
‘There is a rainbow flag inside all of us’ and indeed there is a these should be waved as often as possible both metaphorically and physically . If you can’t get to see this play before it finishes at the N16 in Balham on the 17th June then try and get to see it at the Marlborough Theatre in Brighton performances 21st and 22nd June 4 stars.