FANBOY, 4 Stars

Vaults Festival
7th to 12th March 2023

“Joe has always been a nerd. In his teens, he hid it. In his twenties, he owned it. Now in his thirties, Joe’s started to sense something: a great disturbance in the fandom… Alone, sorting through his old things, Joe finds an old video tape, in an old VCR, long forgotten. He presses play – and something amazing starts to happen…

In this love-hate letter to pop culture and nostalgia, Joe Sellman-Leava (Fringe First, Labels) explores our relationship to our past and future selves, and asks why his generation is so obsessed with its childhood.

Combining epic storytelling, razor-sharp impressions and a dose of theatrical magic, Fanboy comes to VAULT Festival following critically acclaimed performances at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Soho Theatre.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 4 Stars

It takes a braver man than me to stand anywhere in the Vaults barefoot.
Joe Sellman-Leava is braver than me.

A mash-up of Rob Madge’s “My Son’s a Queer” and “A Christmas Carol” with a child’s love for Star Wars, Birds, and Whales all blend into this heart-warming tale of a boy who grows into a man, who becomes an old man. They all interact with each other using clever multi-media techniques.

There’s an old-fashioned TV with built-in VHS player showing the past, along with a projector to show the future, and it’s a technically slick sophisticated show that’s cue’d well by Dylan Howells, the Technical Designer.

Written by Joe and performed by Joe might sound like a recipe for disaster but it works really well here. There is a dramaturg, Lauren Mooney, and a Director, Yaz Al-Shaater and clearly this has created  a beautiful story that is pertinent to everyone. Anyone who knows where they’ve come from, has adapted and changed, and let their experiences inform their future identity would relate to this production. People that once were so important and revered also change and can become someone of lesser significance or even distanced, and you’ll know that this is ok.

The Set works well, the sound and video is spot-on. Occasionally the lighting is a little dim on Joe’s face and I’ll never appreciate house lights coming on once the show has started, but these are artistic choices made by those who created this production.

This is a technically superior and very competent show that lands a punch!

Photo credit: Duncan McGlynn

Tickets: Click here

Cast & Creative Team Writer/Performer/Producer: JOE SELLMAN-LEAVA
Technical Designer: DYLAN HOWELLS
Assistant Director: HETTY HODGSON
Video and Sound Designer: YAZ AL-SHAATER
Production Image: BEN BORLEY
Graphic Design: JASON HOWELLS

Tour dates:
Norwich Theatre 23rd May
Harrogate Theatre 25th May
Hull Truck Theatre 26th May
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