Fronting

A bold and convention-bashing introspection on the impact of HIV, through the medium of two young gay men. David and Will catch each others’ eyes over the mist of a steamy nightclub. However when they venture back to David’s house, instead of engaging in a tryst, they find themselves exploring the poignancy of religion, homophobia, broken trust and living with HIV as a twenty-one year old.

A bold and convention-bashing introspection on the impact of HIV, through the medium of two young gay men

The skill of this performance lies in the acting, with Conor O’Donnelly excelling in the role of David. We are given very short glimpses of his interaction with others, as he narrates his own journey to self-acceptance of what his life will look like subsequent to contracting HIV from his cheating partner. The additional three actors serve to break up the banality of two people engaging in the one conversation for a whole hour. However, these other actors were talented and could have been utilised more efficiently to create a change of pace and energies in the performance. The dialogue was weak and staid in places, though this was down to the script and not the actors. There was no development of the characters throughout the performance, other than the cementing of a relationship which could be more - but we’re left guessing, as toward the end David still maintains he doesn’t want a relationship. This confused me, as at the start he said he didn’t want a one night stand, and I was left querying what the original motivation for his connection with Will had been. Were neither of these options what his intentions had been?

Highlights of the play, written by Glasgow playwright Darren Hardie, are its challenging of stereotypes: that HIV is not a gay disease; that it’s not always the consequence of multiple sexual partners and that it’s not a death sentence. Other themes are intertwined, like Will’s devout catholicism despite being ‘a flamboyant homosexual’. We hear how both boys experienced their coming-out, and there is a good deal of detail about the options for people with HIV or coming into contact with it, like PEP and PrEP. Perhaps too many themes, instead of fully exploring one or two while employing the full range of talented actors available.

A daring piece by Yellowbird Theatre, which creates a safe space to challenge our preconceptions and imagine a life potentially devastated by societal stigma. This is a snappy little production which could be elevated by the occasional change of tempo, dimming the lights a little and tightening up some of the dialogue. Still a great way to spend an hour.

Reviews by Jodie McVicar

Gilded Balloon Teviot

Mandy Muden: Is Not the Invisible Woman

★★★★
Army @ The Fringe in Association with Summerhall

Dead Equal

★★★★
The Fawlty Towers Dining Room at the Hilton Edinburgh Carlton Hotel

Fawlty Towers Live Themed Dinner Show

★★★★★
Greenside @ Nicolson Square

Within

★★★★
Assembly Roxy

Pops

★★★★
National Museum of Scotland

Museum Late: Fringe Fridays

★★★★

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

Following its award-winning run at the Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival in 2017, Yellowbird Theatre are excited to present Fronting as their Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut. David is a young man, recently diagnosed with HIV, and anger and rage seem destined to consume him. However the arrival of Will in David's life could change everything for the better. If David lets it.

Most Popular See More

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Cinderella The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets