≡ Menu

Oyster Boy Review

oyster boy review - haste theatre

Haste Theatre’s Award-Winning

Oyster Boy

Redgrave Theatre, Bristol

Wednesday 22nd March 2017

Review by guest author Lisa Cadd, Bristol’s “Fuss Free Foodie”

I was especially looking forward to watching Oyster Boy at Redgrave Theatre, never having watched a performance there before. I hadn’t realised that the theatre had been built for Clifton College in 1966 and was the first purpose-built theatre school in the country. In the 70s it was decided that amateur dramatic groups could hire out the venue and now a variety of professional touring companies perform here. The theatre was renamed in 1985 in honour of ex-student and actor Sir Michael Redgrave after his death, who officially opened the theatre back in the 60s.


Oyster Boy tells the story of Sam, a boy with an oyster-shaped head, his life being ‘different’ and the impact this has on those around him.


Oyster Boy, performed by the all female, Haste Theatre company was inspired by a Tim Burton poem and has been adapted from their much-loved fringe show for a UK regional tour.  

Set on Coney Island in the 1950s, the scene was instantly set in lively song with ukulele and we saw a love story unfold between Italian native and ice cream seller, Jim, and beautiful Alice. Being of Italian descent myself, and having a grandmother who worked in an ice-cream parlour in southern Italy (and my grandfather was called Jim!) it was a joy to hear the Anglo-Italian lilt of the ‘male’ lead, which was spot on, I hasten to add!

The play, which was an hour long, saw a black stage dressed simply with picnic baskets and colourfully attired actors who created different scenes for the protagonists. Imaginative seaside scenes, French restaurant dining and a hospital delivery suite were simple but left the audience in no doubt of what was happening. With the use of comedy, dance and song, they wove a wonderful tapestry that kept you wondering where it would go next!

Underneath the frivolity and clowning around, lay issues about how young Sam dealt with his place in society and being that child who was ‘different’ and how, as parents, Alice and Jim dealt with their altered perception amongst their peers and their relationship together in their challenge. It dealt with modern-day issues of fitting in, acceptance and judgement. Indeed it played out how the negative actions of others can leave a person feeling outcast and unaccepted, and result in many unanswered questions and feelings.

Oyster Boy Review at Redgrave Theatre - Haste Productions


A beautifully simple story, with a meaningful message that would be enjoyed by adults and children alike. 


Whilst maintaining laser sharp eye contact with the audience and a twinkle in their eyes, the Haste Theatre company have created a piece to evoke thought about human nature and the part each individual plays in society. Definitely recommended for all ages to see, with many learnings and points to be taken away on many levels. An enjoyable show and certainly worth the trip!

Thanks to our guest author Lisa for writing this review for Practically Perfect Mums. If you’re looking for easy family meal ideas, click on the link to visit Lisa’s inspirational blog, The Fuss Free Foodie.

Author Bio: Lisa Cadd

The Fuss Free Foodie provides easy short cuts, quality advice and recommendations to enjoy cooking and eat well; without the fuss!  Join the Fuss Free Foodie community for daily inspiration on Facebook and Lisa’s weekly blog.

The Fuss Free Foodie Logo


An original devised production by Haste Theatre. Inspired by the title story of Tim Burton’s collection of poems The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy.

Associate Director: Kasia Zaremba-Byrne

Costume & Set Design: Haste Theatre

Sound Design: Paul Freeman 

Lighting Design: Paul Murray Stowe

The Cast:

Eleanor Beaman-Brinklow

Valeria Compagnoni

Jesse Dupré

Lexie McDougall

Tamara Saffir

Sophie Taylor


More 2017 Tour Dates:

24th March: Old Joint Stock, Birmingham

30th March: Marlowe Studio, Canterbury

1st April: Theatre Royal, York

2nd April: Carnforth Station Heritage Centre, Lancashire

11th April: Salisbury Playhouse

6th & 7th, 13th&14th May: The Warren, Brighton Fringe

Click here for a complete diary listing of shows at the Bristol Hippodrome

Enjoyed our OYSTER BOY REVIEW? Then why not check out other show reviews on Practically Perfect Mums?

The Wedding Singer

Sunny Afternoon

Not Dead Enough

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang


Million Dollar Quartet

Billy Elliot


Kiss Me Kate

Fiddler on the Roof

Breakfast at Tiffany’s



Guys and Dolls

Chicago The Musical

Taming of the Shrew Ballet

Let It Be

Mamma Mia!


Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty


Avenue Q

The Last Tango

The Bodyguard

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 

Mary Poppins

Little Table of Delights

I Puritani

Romeo and Juliet


3 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: