by Joe DiPietro.
King’s Head Theatre 115 Upper Street Islington N1 1QN To 9 January 2016.
Tue-Sat 9.30pm. 20 December 4pm & 7pm; 27 December 4pm; 4 Jan 7pm no performance 1 Jan.
Runs 1hr 10min. No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7226 8561.
Review: William Russell 8 December.
The boys are back but fewer in the band.
Jo DiPietro’s play started at the Finborough in 2008, transferred to the King’s Head in January 2009 and then moved to the Arts Theatre in July of that year. It received rapturous reviews.
DiPietro has written a witty, perceptive and occasionally moving story of gay men in love, looking for love, selling love, losing love. His model is, of course, the celebrated Schnitzler play La Ronde which followed ten lovers whose lives interlocked as a bracelet was passed on by one lover to the next ending up where it began – the bracelet being venereal disease.
This revival has been designed to tour and the ten characters are now played by just three actors – Richard de Lisle, Harper James and HaydnWhiteside. They demonstrate impressive versatility but it does confuse the story line as at times one is not quite sure who one is seeing.
It is not an evening for the faint-hearted – a couple in the very front row stormed out the night I saw it – as there is quite a lot of nudity and some simulated sexual activity, not to mention plain-speaking. But, given the title, what did they expect?
Patently designed to shock, it really is pretty catchpenny, whereas La Ronde hits the nail beautifully on the head, implying everything, spelling nothing out.
That said, DiPietro’s play, which is, to coin a phrase, very much like the home lives of some of our dear queens, deserves its revival and is well worth catching.
Cast: Richard de Lisle, Harper James, Haydn Whiteside.
Director: Mark Barford.
Designer/Costume: Jamie Simmons.
Lighting: Nic Farman.
Assistant director: Ellen Buckley.