F**king Men by Joe Dipietro. Waterloo East Theatre, Brad Street, London SE1 to 18 June 2023. 4****. William Russell.

This funny, sad and perceptive take on Schnitzler’s La Ronde in an updated version directed by Steven Kunis is a merrygoround of gay love involving some ten gay new Yorkers who meet in turn. The original version started life at the Finborough and went on to run and run. The last version I saw was at the King’s Head in 2016 – since then things have changed both as far as HIV is concerned and how gay men look for love. It went on to become London’s longest running fringe show. This production is packing them in and deservedly so. The cast of four manage to transform themselves quite brilliantly as the couplings change – it starts with a butch soldier picking up a young gay hooker just to see what it is like, beating him up, apologising and falling in love, before we move on to encounter two. The meetings are varied – there is the tutor being seduced by a pupil, a famous star deciding to come out on television, a writer taking revenge on some one who has let them down by disclosing they are gay, a college boy inviting someone back to the dorm, couples coping with sex outside their relationship, and so on. It all ends where it began with that young hooker. Along the way there are some pretty graphic sexual encounters which could shock Aunt Edna should she attend, although maybe not. This is serious stuff not Chippendale titillation. It will do what theatre should do – make you laugh, make you cry and above all make you think.


Alex Britt, Charlie Condou, Derek Mitchell, Stanton Plummer-Cambridge.

Director -Steven Kunis. Set & Costumes – Cara Evans. Lighting – Alex Lewer. Sound – Charlie Smith. Voice and Dialect Coach – Amanda Stephens-Lee. Movement and Intimacy Director – Lee Crowley. Production photographs – Derren Benn.

ReviewsGate Copyright Protection