Coming-of-age stories have a special place in my heart. They’re always bittersweet and bring back distant memories and there’s always a lesson to be learned. The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk is such a story – two school-aged boys, both outcasts, making a connection and becoming friends and what happens when one succumbs to the pressures of being accepted by his peers.
The plot of The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk begins when two men meet at an airport, after not having seen each other for 30 years. Martin, who once was the new kid in school, yearning to be accepted and Simon, who was the quirky and eccentric outsider. The story then goes back 30 years and starts at the beginning when Simon and Martin became friends. We then follow them over a period of a few years and see their ups and downs and what eventually becomes the end of their unique friendship. The story is told from Martin’s perspective and centers on him being torn between his friendship with Simon and the world they have created and the pressures of being accepted by the other kids.
The show, with a well-written script, is performed by the hugely talented Andy Manley who, in this one-man show, plays with great skill all of the characters in the story. The performance takes place on the New Victory stage, along with the audience who are also sitting on the stage on large rugs or benches, which is perfect for this type of performance. All of the focus is on Manley and indeed, everyone in the audience, from kids to adults, could not take their eyes off him. It’s not easy to keep kids focused when it’s a one-man show but Manley uses his charisma to captivate everyone and keep us on our toes to see what he’ll do next.
I saw the show with my daughter and we both were just fascinated by the story and the way it was told by Manley. I personally loved the message of acceptance and not letting others influence you in your decisions.
The performance is 50 minutes long with no intermission and is appropriate for kids ages 8 and up.
When: June 20th at 7pm
June 21st at 2pm & 7pm
June 22 at 12pm & 5pm
Where: The New Victory Theater
209 West 42nd Street, Between 7 &8 Avenues, New York
Price: $25 per person
To Purchase Tickets click here.
To purchase by phone call (646) 223-3010
Box office is open Sunday & Monday 11am-5pm; Tuesday-Saturday 12pm-7pm
Photos by Paul Watt
I was not compensated for this post. I received tickets to the show.