F*cking Men

What to expect from a show called F*cking Men? Yes, it is ostensibly about sex, specifically gay sex, and as you’d expect it’s ripe for memorable one-liners like “I’m not gay, I’m in the army.” but it also lays bare the fragility of modern masculinity and the defence mechanisms they use to deny these deep-rooted issues. It takes the tired and stereotypical narratives about gay men and the stock characters that inhabit them and slowly rips them to shreds before your eyes – where you once laughed now you see the sad truth that’s all too familiar for the gay community.

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.

Reviews by Liam Rees

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

After smash-hit, sell-out runs in London, F*cking Men arrives in Edinburgh for the very first time. Do guys only want one thing? And how far will they go to get it? This frank, funny and full-frontal play takes the search for sexual satisfaction to the next level, laying bare the love lives of 10 men as they navigate relationships, infidelity and heartbreak. Guaranteed to set your pulse racing! 'Fan-f*cking-tastic' ***** (CultureFly.co.uk). 'Clever, hilarious and very poignant' ***** (WestEndWilma.com). 'Will seduce you theatrically, emotionally and mentally' ***** (GrumpyGayCritic.co.uk).

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