About a Goth

When little in your life seems to be easy then perhaps, for some, the only way to take control is to adopt a persona. A death-embracing, black-clad Goth is an easy go-to for a young homosexual man struggling with his sexuality and a myriad of other personal relationships. There is a certain solace in solitude and knowing the boundaries within which you must live breeds a kind of comfort. About a Goth plays out this struggle between who we are and the mask we put up for others.

A death-embracing, black-clad Goth is an easy go-to for a young homosexual man struggling with his sexuality and a myriad of other personal relationships

Tom Wells plays Nick, and charts the character's self-discovery and removal of the Goth persona which has become both his prison and his escape. We get a glimpse into Nick's inner thoughts, desires and fears and a sense of how he interacts with those around him. As we are taken through the story Nick slowly undresses, removes nail varnish, make-up and all the accoutrements of a Goth life-style. He sheds his skin as he comes to accept the person he is underneath.

The performance is certainly brave. Mimicked masturbation and partial nudity in a performance, that one suspects may not be a million miles away from the real story, are courageous moves for this young performer. Various characters are portrayed throughout the performance, each having a distinct voice and clear mannerisms. It was only the Wells’ attempts at RP inflections and perhaps a little over-familiarity with the script that allowed some moments and nice pieces of dialogue to go unheard. The final passage of the performance, in which Nick sheds the last vestiges of his gothic appearance and reflects on the person he once was, is a particularly poignant one. The contrast between the persona displayed throughout, flamboyant and difficult to finally just Nick: naked, cleansed and natural voiced, is powerful. The show is advertised as rude and although there are moments it is not overtly vulgar; a throwaway comment about self-harm being the only worrying point although the blasé attitude with which the topic is brought up was alarming. Although tightly scripted and generally well-paced the 90s and 00s pop outbreaks added little to the overall performance.

About a Goth is an entertaining document of a young man's life. I have no doubt that many will recognise Nick's plight, empathise with it and hopefully gain some confidence in the life-affirming conclusion. With more time taken to bring the comedy out of the already funny and succinct script, and a little editing of the physical moments, this will be a tight and no doubt successful piece.

Reviews by James Price

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The Blurb

A (somewhat) raucous and (rather) rude comedy by Tom Wells about Nick, 17 and gay, who volunteers in old people's homes, and suffers paroxyms of love and hate for the residents. Contains (bad) dancing to the Sugababes, a (brief) reference to Geri Halliwell, and mint frappuccinos (how goth is that?!)