AWAY FROM HOME to 28 March

by Rob Ward and Martin Jameson

Jermyn Street Theatre, 16b Jermyn Street, London SW1 6ST to 28 March 2014 and then on tour.
Runs 1hr 15 mins

TICKETS: 0207 287 2875. (London performances.)

Review: William Russell 13 March

Pretty Boy
This monologue written by Martin Jameson and Rob Ward is engrossing, interesting, thought provoking and beautifully performed by Ward. But does it really achieve the aim of provoking discussion about homophobic attitudes among football fans and the reluctance of gay footballers to come out of the closet until their playing days are over?

I am not sure that it does as it turns out to be a kind gay Pretty Woman because Kyle, who is telling us his story, is a male escort who, like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, is purchased for the night, not by a businessman but by a successful footballer.

The man falls for the boy, tries to hire him full time, and eventually sets him up in a flat of his own with a big television set and a motor car.

The boy, however, get jealous when he sees the man out with some footballers and the obligatory page three crumpet doing what is expected of footballers and things happen. Kyle’s own life, his relationship with his clients, whom he treats as beneath contempt, and with his parents, who know he is gay but not, initially at least, how he earns his living, is interesting enough but one is left feeling something is lacking.

It is, of course, that we learn next to nothing about the footballer. How does he cope? He has needs, but rent boys, like prostitutes, as many a player has found to his cost, are not always discreet. The monologue is not an agit prop piece of work which is in its favour. It simply sets out a situation and the authors’ hope is that when it is shown in theatres, football clubs and community arts centres it will provoke discussion but whether the discussion will be about homophobia among fans or the life style of rent boys is open to question.

Given that being gay is hardly a badge of shame in pretty well every other profession, and there are gay sportsmen in other sports with gay supporters, just why many football fans are so Neanderthal is one of those things worth debating. Can they do what many other sections of society have done and change their attitudes?

If this play adds to that debate well and good. But I would have liked to hear the footballer’s side of the story because Kyle’s story does not really tell us anything we don’t already know and the plight of the man trapped in an alien, homophobic macho world would be far more interesting. However, that said, Mr

Ward does a terrific job as Kyle, holds the attention throughout, and also manages brilliantly to conjure up the people in Kyle’s sad, unfulfilled life.

Kyle: Rob Ward

Director and Designer : Martin Jameson.
Lighting: Louis Hartshorn, Martin Jameson.
Sound: Owen Rafferty.

29 March 7.45pm Cast Doncaster
30 March 5pm The Hub, Leeds; 7.30pm 22 and 23 April, The Octagon, Bolton; 7.30pm 24 April The Continental, Preston; 7.30pm 29 April Mill at the Pier, Wigan; 7.30pm 2 May South Hill Park, Bracknell; 8pm 16 May Derby Theatre, Derby; 7.30pm 22 – 26 May Marlborough Theatre, Brighton; 7.30pm 29 May Fauconberg Arms; 7.45 pm 30 -31 May Theatre Royal, York; 8pm 6 – 7 June The Studio, Hull Truck.

2014-03-22 10:25:07

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