All That

Is there a ‘right’ way to be in a gay relationship in the modern world? In this play, written by BAFTA Racliffe-winning, Offie-nominated writer Shaun Kitchener, two gay couples who live very different lifestyles are thrown together. Comic misunderstandings ensue and friendships are pushed to breaking point. Will they be able to accept each other’s way of life or will this turn into a living nightmare with no way out?

The chemistry between them is electric

The play takes place in the living room of a lovely house in suburbia. The set, designed by Delyth Evans, is simple yet very well done complete with oversized modern art, potted plants and all the necessary knick-knacks and ornaments that turned the stage into a believable home.

At the start of this play we meet ex-boyband member Riley, played by Chris Jenkins. As Riley had the more outlandish backstory it is a credit to Chris that he was able to bring a great deal of realism and reassuring calm to his character. Riley and his devoted boyfriend Taylor have been together for ten years. They are in a committed monogamous relationship and are currently looking for new lodgers to move into their spare room. Jordan Laviniere (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie), as the highly strung ‘Stepford Husband’ Taylor had a shaky start but quickly settled in and was able to take the audience along on his journey of self-doubt and discovery with ease.

Fulfilling the roles of the new lodgers were a couple with a very different outlook on what makes a great relationship. Parker (Matt Greenwood) is non-binary and is a whirlwind compared to the calm homeowners. Matt brings a very high-energy to their character from the start but it’s clear that the erratic exterior of Parker hides a more vulnerable side. The multi-layered characterisation was a well-crafted performance by Matt. Parker’s boyfriend on the other hand makes a much more subdued entrance. Jamie, the handsome (is that the right word?) Imran Adams (Hollyoaks), does not say much at first but his mere presence looms large from the very beginning. As we get to know the character in more detail it soon becomes clear that Imran Adams’s performance is a force to be reckoned with. He brings a ferocious magnetic energy to the character with just a smile or glance. Imran’s scenes with Jordan crackle with sexual tension and it is though he is almost daring the audience to ask why would anyone NOT want to fuck him? I must, at this point, also mention costume designer Delyth Evans as everything Jamie wore just oozed with natural sexuality. His more powerful outbursts toward the end of the show really struck home and it’s a shame that the scenes that followed were unable to quite live up to the strength of Imran’s. This is his stage debut and it is a very compelling unveiling of what he can offer.

The writer, Shaun Kitchener, has written a belter of a play here. He knows precisely how to swing from comedy to heartbreak and is good at asking the questions that all gay men have debated in new and exciting ways. This production is directed by James Callas Ball. It is important to note that a show performed virtually in-the-round is always hard to pull off but he’s done well with having the more important scenes take place on a nicely positioned sofa. He also made good use of a round table so that all sides feel they have a great viewpoint of the drama.

Special mention must go to lighting designer Jack Weir. I expect that a long ‘blackout’ scene is much more difficult to light than it may appear. Andrew Reynolds is the composer and sound designer. The music in All That really helped to imbue each scene with the right feeling.

All That is a one-act show and is just about the perfect length for this to work. The cast of four have amazing energy and they all bring something unique to the show. The chemistry between them is electric. This play could have been written specifically for the Kings Head Theatre and is a wonderful highlight of their Queer Season.

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Reviews by Christopher James

King's Head Theatre Pub

All That

★★★★
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★★★★★
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★★★★★
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★★★★★
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THIS IS REALITY 2000

★★★★
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The Tell-Tale Heart

★★★★★

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The Blurb

Taylor and Riley have been living the loved-up suburban dream for nearly a decade, but when financial troubles prompt them to rent out their spare room, it’s not long before they meet Jamie and Parker, a couple with a totally different outlook from their own.Tensions rise, wires cross and preconceptions are challenged as the four housemates are tested to their limits and forced to reassess the lives they’ve built and what it is they really want.Laugh-out-loud hilarity combines with a profoundly honest look at modern relationships;  a razor-sharp riposte to the idea that there’s ever a ‘right’ way to be gay.

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