13th Sep2017

Outlaws to In-Laws (Theatre)

by timbaros

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London is very fortunate to have a theatre like the King’s Head because of it’s repertoire of gay-themed shows. And now it’s in the middle of presenting it’s Queer Festival ’17 with the showcase of a new play called “Outlaws to In-Laws.”

“Outlaws to In-Laws” attempts, successfully, to depict the experiences of gay men over the last seven decades. And while it’s a subject that would be daunting for any theatre, or playwright, involved, the seven playwrights who wrote the seven shows that cover seven decades of gay life do their darndest to both entertain and educate the audience. Here are some of the highlights:

Happy and Glorious – by Philip Meeks – is set in the 1950’s on the day of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation where two men fall into a tryst and both their lives change forever.

Mister Tuesday – by Jonathan Harvey (Beautiful Thing) – Peter and Jimmy have sex, on Tuesdays, but we soon realize that Jimmy is married with children while Peter threatens to blackmail him just so that he can keep the trysts, and possibly more, ongoing.

Reward – by Jonathan Harvey – a riveting story where a rough and tough skinhead and a young black man meet at a bus stop and fall into a relationship, but it’s illicit one where both of them could be in real danger. Both actors, Jack Bence and Michael Duke, are excellent.

1984 – by Patrick Wilde – where two men have an encounter, and one of them, a politico for Thatcher, realizes that all that he stands for is soon to change.

Brothas – by Topher Campbell – where two black men, Dwayne and Remi, have fun cruising on a black dating sight, slighting the unactrative ones while favoring the more ‘looking and acting straight’ ones. But it’s Dwayne whose in it for more than just the sex.

While most of the stories are very good, what is best about this production are the performances. All seven actors give it their best, but it’s a few of them who really stand out. Bence, as previously mentioned, is highly memorable as the skinhead in Reward and as Peter in Mister Tuesday – both roles require high stakes drama and passion, and Bence delivers, while both Myles Devonté and Duke look very comfortable in their roles in Brothas – they are both naturals in front of the audience.

“Outlaws to Inlaws” is two hours of theatre that, while a bit cobbled together, is still a very good journey that takes us from decade to decade of gay life linked together very cleverly and showcasing the talent of the playwrights and especially the actors.

“Outlaws to In-Laws” is playing at The King’s Head Theatre until September 23. For tickets, please go here:

https://kingsheadtheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873574190/events/128193066

For details of their other gay production, “Gypsy Queen,” please go here:

https://kingsheadtheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873576764

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23rd May2017

5 Guys Chillin’ (Theatre)

by timbaros

5 Guys Chillin' (c) Laura Marie Linck (7)There’s a chemsex party taking place at the King’s Head Theatre. No, it’s not an actual party – It’s the returning show 5 Guys Chillin’.

In the comforts of the living room of J (David Palmstrom) and M (George Fletcher), them and three other guys (actually men) are enjoying each other as well as the drugs on the table in order to experience the highs, and in some cases, the lows, of what gay men (not all gay men) are getting into nowadays; drugs and sex and more drugs and in some cases unsafe sex in private house parties.

B (Gareth Watkins) and R (Tom Ratcliffe) are a bit of an unmatched couple; R is very young but not so innocent, while muscular big daddy B is experienced and likes it any which way and loose. And the last one to arrive at the party is Pakistani PJ (George Bull). He’s a bit unsure as to why he’s there, but slowly gets into the action. But he’s got a story to tell the other guys; he’s actually married with a young child because it’s what is expected in his culture. Besides him, all the guys have stories to tell; B’s story is particularly vivid as he recounts the time he was spit roast in Berlin where sexual diseases were not discussed. It’s all a lot to take in; the plays’ honesty and brutal nature is scary because know all know these types of gay men, and parties, do actually exist. And all the actors should be admired for performing such an in your face play shedding emotions as well as bravely shedding their clothes. Writer and Director Peter Darney seems to have gotten the tone and characters right, but luckily I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been and don’t plan to go to one of these parties.

Playing until June 3rd – for tickets, please go here:

https://kingsheadtheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873572428/events/128101674

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03rd Apr2017

Adam & Eve and Steve (Theatre)

by timbaros

DSC_6077It’s not Adam & Eve but Adam & Eve and Steve (plus the Devil) at The Kings Head Theatre.

A musical version of the biblical story that we all know and love so well is just what we need in this time of Brexit and Trump. But in this story Steve (Dale Adams), and not Eve, is accidentally created by God (the voice and later the body of Michael Christopher) – thanks to Beelzebub – the Devil (played to camp perfection by Stephen McGlynn). But Adam (an innocent looking Joseph Robinson) thinks that Steve is actually Eve, but then God waves his magic wand and creates the real Eve (a sexy Hayley Hampson) and it all becomes very confusing for Adam. Beelzebub tempts them all to take a bite of, as he calls it, the pom (a/k/a apple) against God’s wishes. But Steve wants to be with Adam, and Eve wants to be with Adam, and Adam is confused, and what does Beelzebub (and the mostly gay audience) want? For Adam and Steve to hook up, and, of course, Beelzebub (and us) wants everyone to sin! Set to a sinfully silly musical score (‘I want to shop for furniture’ was one of the most memorable tunes) and tons of references to the existing world (Uber, Ikea, gluten free), with lots of skin on show, Adam & Eve and Steve won’t change your life but it will make you forget all about the outside world for a luckily brief 75 minutes.

For tickets, please go to:

https://kingsheadtheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873566822/events/128005665

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13th Jan2017

Strangers in Between (Theatre)

by timbaros

AC3A0278Great performances by a cast of three is the highlight of the play ‘Strangers in Between.’

Playing for a second year in a row at the Kings Head Theatre, ’Strangers in Between’ is drama about a young man experiencing the big city for the first time. Shane (Roly Botha) has moved from his small hometown in Australia to the big city of Sydney. He says he’s 19, and he works in a liquor store yet doesn’t even know how to use the register. In walks a customer – gay and trendy Will (Dan Hunter). Shane at first is a bit intimidated by him, but they manage to make small talk until another customer walks in – Peter (Stephen Connery-Brown) – a middle-aged gay man looking for a simple yet inexpensive bottle of wine. Eventually Shane gets Will’s number.

Shane lives in the Kings Cross section of Sydney, an area teaming with prostitutes and crime. But Shane loves it there, especially as it’s far away from his family, and especially brother, he ran away from. Him and Will hook up for a few trysts – it’s purely a sexual relationship – while Shane finds comfort in his friendship with Peter. But Shane has a couple secrets, one being his age, and the other involving his homophobic brother Ben (Hunter). But suddenly Ben finds Shane in Sydney, after Shane’s world is falling apart after he has lost his job and contracted an STD from Will.

The cast is very admirable but it’s Botha who shines. His Shane is young, cute, innocent and with a nervous tick – he dominates the very small stage – Botha is a wonder. Hunter ably does double duty as Will and Ben, while Connery-Brown is very good as Peter. While the ending is a bit of a letdown, the play, written by Tommy Murphy, is a show that all of us can relate to because at one time we were all young and innocent and new to the big city.

For tickets, please visit:

https://kingsheadtheatre.ticketsolve.com/#/shows/873560596/events/127898509

 

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28th Aug2015

The Clinic (Theatre)

by timbaros

the_clinic_poster_SMALL_web_mediumWhat happens when you go to a clinic? Well, if you’ve been taking drugs and having lots of unsafe sex, then you might be more likely be HIV+. The new play “The Clinic” explores this scenario, and so much more.

Not so much a play but more of a health education lesson, “The Clinic” is produced by David Stuart, the Lead Substance Use Advisor at 56 Dean Street (a London sexual health clinic based in the heart of Soho), and written by Patrick Cash.

We are introduced to characters that we may recognize and identify with, portrayed by a cast of London scenesters. DJ Stewart Who plays a sexual health advisor at the clinic; he used to be a drug addicted party animal but now he dispenses HIV advice and results to men much younger than him.

Then there’s the wealthy businessman (Matthew Hodson) who enjoys sex with young men and thinks that he can buy them his love and affection. He’s also in HIV denial.

Zachariah Fletcher is the confused young man, an extreme party boy who likes to go clubbing and take drugs, not necessarily in that order. He’s also into chillouts (orgies). And he’s at risk of contracting HIV. He meets (via Grinder) Damien Killen’s character, a young respectable guy who seems to have a good head on his shoulders, is handsome with a good body, who came to London only to somehow become HIV+. He feels like he’s no longer desired but now damaged.

Then there’s Shirley (Pretty Miss Cairo). She runs a Vauxhall beauty clinic which acts as a sanctuary for the drugged out boys when the clubs close.

These characters may not be real people, but they are composites of characters that Cash met and interviewed after 56 Dean Street commissioned him to write this play. He interviewed not just the people who work at the clinic but some of the patients as well.

It’s a bare bones production, played in the very warm King’s Head Theatre in Angel (take a bottle of water with you, and a hand fan). And the cast should be admired for taking part in this play. It’s difficult at times to hear some of the dialogue (Fletcher is so soft-spoken I could hardly hear his dialogue), but Hodson (who is perfect as the villian), Miss Cairo and Killeen more than make up for the play’s faults. And Stewart Who (is that his real surname?) brings a certain stoicism to his role.

And as you enter the theatre before the play starts, you are given a glossary of terms referred to in the play. There were several words in the glossary that I had never heard of before, so I did learn something new by going to see the play ‘The Clinic.’ It’s a perfect setting for a gay play, a place where we’ve all been to.

‘The Clinic’ is now playing at the Kings Head Theatre in London until August 29th.

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