First Time

This is definitely not the first time I have seen a play about being gay or about the AIDS epidemic, but it is the first time I have seen an eclectic and moving look at life post HIV diagnosis told with such startling humor and honesty.

A unique and vital new stage in the progression of HIV themed work in the theatre.

In First Time Nathanial Hall – our brave autobiographical performer – gives a stellar performance of a young man coming to terms with his HIV diagnosis and, even more importantly, shows us how to channel tragedy into personal power. We meet Nathanial at his lowest moment and through a series of stories, presented as a combination of stand-up, performance art, and interactive theatre we watch this young, scared man transform into a fierce warrior for HIV education and a life free of self shame.

To say the show is inspiring, does not do this unique work justice. The play is compelling, motivating, triumphant, and sobering. The real genius of the piece is how Hall not only shares his story, but allows the audience themselves to grieve over the loss and devastation that is the AIDS crisis. The script's focus on not only the "how?" of Hall’s HIV status, but also the “what now?” elevates the piece above so much of the other HIV themed shows I’ve seen over the years.

The audience is not allowed to leave in a state of grief or pity, but is rather forced to confront their own complicity in allowing the epidemic to continue and to contemplate how we might be able to step up and make a difference.

Bravo to Nathaniel Hall for creating a piece of theatre that harkens a unique and vital new stage in the progression of HIV themed work in the theatre. See First Time here at the Fringe while you have the chance. Both the performer and the work will have a long life after this premiere. And Mr. Hall, thank you, I survived too.

Reviews by Stephen Svoboda

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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.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Remember your first time? Nathaniel can't forget his. Now the party's over, the balloons have burst and he's living his best queer life: brunching on pills and googling kangaroo vaginas on a weekday morning – or is he? HIV+ theatre-maker Nathaniel Hall presents a funny and frank autobiographical show about staying positive in a negative world. Join him as he blows the lid on the secret he's kept for the last 15 years. 'A remarkable story, I was in awe' (Russell T Davies). 'One hell of a ride' ***** (NorthernSoul.me.uk). 'Deeply moving' **** (Attitude Magazine).

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