Jason and Ade, two young lads, close mates and rivals, one white, one black, are having fun and games in a hotel bedroom in Bulgaria. They are 17-year-old footballers, nudging, jostling, porn-watching, winding each other up. The banter and sexual horseplay never stops; though it does stop somewhat shorter than the playwright might have wished.
John Donnelly’s play follows the careers of Jason and Ade over a 12 year period.
The Pass is about success and failure, winners and losers. Jason likes winning. “I’m not gay,” he lies, “I’m an athlete, a warrior. I sell millions in merchandise. I embody people’s hopes and dreams. I have a million followers on Twitter.”
Confident, arrogant, he enjoys a rich life-style and is quick to squash rumours which will affect his macho image. The play is about respect and control in a homophobic football environment. No one, he says, gets the better of him. But at what expense? The final image he presents is pretty loathsome.
It’s a great role for Russell Tovey and his witty and swaggering performance, physically and verbally, is full of naked bravado. He and Gary Carr, as the decent, honest Ade, spar well together. There is also a neat comic cameo from Nico Mirallegro as a very immature bellboy keen for any adventure.
John Tiffany’s direction, on an intimate traverse stage, keeps up the pressure and the scene changes, carried out at speed by the agile actors, are crucial to the play’s energy.
by Robert Tanitch, Mature Times theatre reviewer