Saturday, April 13

A Butcher of Distinction – Barons Court Theatre

Who would enjoy a butcher of distinction? Well, I can firmly say that this show is not for vegetarians. The show contains references to animal cruelty, death, sexual assault, suicide and blood (as thankfully we are warned before entering). This play by Rob Hays is chaotically dark and by touching on so many striking dark themes this play is not able to deal with any of these issues with any depth or meaning. The result is a play that successfully shocks its audience at every turn.

Connor McCrory plays the bossy twin Hartley whilst his brother Hugo (Joseph Ryan-Hughes) timidly struggles to stand up to him. Hartley and Hugo however are terrified by Teddy (Ethan Reid) the debt collector who comes to collect their late fathers’ debts.

Pretty early on it’s clear that Hartley isn’t stable. Connor had a crazed look in his eyes from early on. Hugo had the most depth as a character and Joseph was able to show his characters journey acting nervous, timid and vulnerable before transforming into a crazed character at the end of the show. Ethan’s character Teddy was tough from the onset and threatening, before having a few more vulnerable moments. All of the actors did a really good job of bringing these characters to life in an engaging way and worked well in the space.

Early in the show there is a racist joke, which was unnecessary and a feeble way to make this very dark story funny. These kinds of attempts at humour do not work on a modern audience and should have been removed from the script.

The underground theatre was a great setting for this show as the whole play is set in a pub basement. It also made the show scarier as the actors were standing right in front of you with knives and blood.

So, who would enjoy this show? Well, if gruesome bloody horror is your thing, you’ll really enjoy A Butcher of Distinction. If you want an evening of great acting and don’t mind a bit of blood or disturbing topics, then this is the show for you. Overall, it’s the strength of the acting that makes this one to watch.

Reviewer: Jennifer Laishley

Reviewed: 3rd November 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★