Head to The Queen’s Head pub on an alley off Piccadilly Circus and you’ll find Trystan Gravelle holding court as Dave. In a 40 minute monologue (read: rant), this cynical, immensely likeable young misanthrope shares his frustrations with life, his job in the civil service, his woefully inept colleagues, the government and, well, just about everything, really. He entertains us with a tale of a hideous work night out with his colleagues in the Strategic and Tactical Development team — or STD…T — which he kicks off by reducing his boss to tears, before weaving his way on a booze-fuelled trek across London in the middle of the night, flinging contempt at virtually every sight that offends him, which is, again… just about everything.
Originally produced at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate theatre last year, Honest made its way to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it enjoyed critical acclaim. And it’s not hard to see why. Directed by Polly Findlay and written by DC Moore — whose The Empire at the Royal Court was nominated for an Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright, as well as a 2011 Olivier Award — Honest is a foul-mouthed, bleak, hilarious production in which nothing is sacred, nothing escapes Dave’s bile. Not even 9/11.
Gravelle is acidic and completely irreverent, mixing world-weariness with fresh incredulity and jaded disgust. Sitting among us in the pub, in his work suit, with his drink, he includes his audience with wry looks and a familiar tone, commanding the room from start to finish with his dry, luscious Welsh lilt, and ending on a poignant note of open vulnerability and self-doubt, with which we all can relate.
Production shot: John Roan Photography