by Joe DiPietro.
King’s Head Theatre 115 Upper Street Islington N1 1QN To 30 August 2015.
Tues-Sun 7pm. Mat Sat & Sun 3pm.
Runs 1hr 30min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7193 7845.
Review: William Russell 8 August.
Ignore the title, enjoy the play.
The catchpenny title really does this entertaining and illuminating gay variation on La Ronde a disservice. There is nudity, of course, and Aunt Edna would probably be well advised to stay away because sexual encounters do take place, but what it really is proves to be a funny, thought-provoking look at the effect such encounters have on various relationships and the individuals concerned.
The results turn out not to be what one expects. The pretty porn star, for instance, is simply doing a job of work and longing to settle down, the rent-boy is merely exploiting his assets, the student is no innocent corrupted by his elders but a predatory pretty boy intent on enjoying himself, and the squaddie insistent on being straight and then amazed at how enjoyable gay sex turns out to be does not prove to be a gay basher as at first seems likely.
The play, which is the first in a season at this theatre of gay plays, is directed with a sure hand by Geoffrey Hyland and Nic Farman’s lighting proves splendidly adept at shutting-off the stage picture just when it could otherwise turn prurient and pornographic.
There is a lovely comic turn from Darren Bransford as a fringe playwright seduced by a married film star, played by Johnathon Neal to the life, into misbehaving in a broom-cupboard with the promise of work on the celluloid god’s next film. And a moving performance from Richard Stemp as the chat-show host mourning a dead lover about to interview the star who, exposed by the enraged playwright, wants to come on the show and tell the truth.
But the entire cast, arguably the best-looking in London, make the most of their chances.
The Playwright: Darren Bransford.
The Student: Euan Brockie.
The Married Guy: Jonathan McGarrity.
The Other Married Guy: Richard De Lisle.
The Soldier: Harper James.
The Graduate Student: Ruben Jones.
The Actor: Johnathon Neal.
The Journalist: Richard Stemp.
The Porn Star: Haydn Whiteside.
The Escort: Chris Wills.
Director: Geoffrey Hyland.
Designer: Jamie Simmons.