top of page

HAVE YOUR          SAY.....

Whether you agree or disagree with our critics, we welcome  your comments and will try to include them at the end of the review. 

Please use our contact form 

Boy Out the City

Declan Bennett. Photo courtesy of the Belgrade Theatre.

Boy Out The City, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, from 25-28 March.

Review by Aoife Kinsella


Inside of me, there’s a boy…

A show of classic storytelling combined with modern ideas, Declan Bennett’s autobiographical performance ‘Boy Out The City’ takes the audience on a journey that leaves them feeling more than a little determined to come to terms with their own inner selves.

Stirred up by the increasing number of ASOS deliveries in the first lockdown, Coventry-born Declan Bennett and his boyfriend impulsively move to a cottage in Watlington, Oxfordshire. Shortly afterwards, Bennett’s boyfriend is hired as an actor in Atlanta. In the six months that he is gone, Bennett attempts to cope by creating a routine, triggering an array of memories: from his innocent young days with Siobhan to the attempts to cover up his sexuality to joining the school choir.

Running alongside this is the increasingly claustrophobic solitude of his current everyday life. After spending Christmas alone, and with his 40th birthday fast approaching, Bennett gives in to drink, which only further forces him to confront his past.

Boy Out the City. Photo courtesy of the Belgrade Theatre.

Themes of homosexuality, toxic masculinity and mental health rise to the surface in a spectacle of colour and light.

Bennett’s talent for expressing his story is matched with Alex Lewer’s impressive lighting design, which allows the audience to feel as though they are experiencing the events right alongside Bennett.

Musical breaks, such as the mournful ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ and Bennett’s drunken dancing, not only allow for this lighting to show off its full potential, but also bring out another aspect of Bennett’s life – his career as a singer. Though the sound is minimal throughout the majority of the performance, sound effects, such as children’s voices, add to Bennett’s presentation of his memories.

Boy Out the City, Declan Bennett. Photo courtesy of the Belgrade Theatre.

Combined with the creativity of Nancy Sullivan, the co-creator and director, as well as Reuben Speed’s eye-catching set design, Declan Bennett’s raw and brutally honest take on his life makes for a relatable and moving performance.

It must be said that some events, such as his life in New York, are only briefly mentioned, perhaps due to the confinement of 60 minutes. Having said that, Bennett covers an impressive amount of his life within the time.

A story of solitude, identity and acceptance, ‘Boy Out The City’ is a must see for anyone who has ever felt like they needed to fit in.


bottom of page