What to expect from a show called
The production may tell us a lot but also shows us plenty without feeling the need to explain what we’re meant to think
Writer Joe DiPietro achieves this in a striking manner, namely: rather than focusing on one specific character he provides us with snapshots of interconnected homosexual encounters that invariably revolve around sex. Furthermore the three actors, Haydn Whiteside, Harper James and Richard de Lisle, play multiple roles that resurface and interact across the ten scenes – to give you an idea, a soldier solicits a rent boy, who then has sex with his tutor, who has sex with a married man and so on until we come full circle. It’s a brave move that takes a while for the audience to get used to but has fantastic results in the long term. What’s more, the dialogue is incredibly snappy and loaded with subtext, brought fully to life by the actors under Mark Barford’s direction. We may only encounter these characters for one or two scenes but by the end we feel that we know them intimately and they’ve ceased to be the stereotypical sex-obsessed bi boy or the married man who just sleeps around to ‘keep up’ with his anti-monogamy partner.
The production may tell us a lot but also shows us plenty without feeling the need to explain what we’re meant to think. Can you receive oral sex from a man and still call yourself straight? Does being gay mean you have to reject monogamy? And for that matter why do people have sex anyway? Is it because “it’s fan-fucking-tastic” as one character puts it? The creative team are right in their confidence to leave these questions unanswered as there are as many answers as there are people. What they are clear in saying is that we need to stop putting gay men into boxes and let them be who they really are, because right now everyone’s pretending and no one’s winning.