It’s “muck-up day” for Yonni, a Year Eleven London student with much more on his mind than college. He’s Jewish, he’s gay, and he’s about to face some catastrophic events.
Run is a one-man play that is very much a showcase for actor Jonathon Smeed who, with very little in the way of stagecraft (the play is performed in Lauriston Hall with no props, set, music or lighting effects), commands our attention for an hour. As Yonni narrates his summer experiences – flitting between past and present tense – Smeed utilises the space effectively, traversing the stage, leaping down at times to sit on its edge, and swaggering towards our seats.
The story itself is a coming-of-age narrative focusing on young love, conflict, pain and the need to belong. The shifts in timeframe can be a little confusing, though – again, with no lighting or music cues to help differentiate – and some key plot points feel abrupt, demanding keen attention from the audience.
The exploration of anti-Semitism and identity (both religious and sexual) is powerful, but this production of Run, with its sparse staging, would benefit from further elements to deliver even more impact. Still, Smeed is gifted enough to impress and sustain our interest.