Let Me Look at You

Starving Artists are back with a compelling show about homosexuality in which Mark Pinkosh shares how being gay has affected his life.

An effective call to arms.

Written by his husband, Godfrey Hamilton, the play is set in present day Soho where Pinkosh can’t take his eyes off a young man leaning against a motorcycle. We wonder why it is that this person captures Pinkosh’s attention so. Is he attracted to him? Jealous? He makes a handful of remarks about his style. We think: perhaps it’s that.

These heady streets of Soho, like New York’s Greenwich Village or California’s San Francisco, were once home to those that society pushed to the fringes. Playing himself, Pinkosh reminds us that only fifty years ago, intimate acts between same sex partners was outlawed. From there he narrates us through his personal history: a man simply trying to lead a normal life that was, because of his sexuality, punctuated with friction.

Pinkosh’s tale isn’t told chronologically, perhaps because talking about sexuality isn’t something that can fit into a rigid sequence. Vignettes such as a tumble in the park with his best friend and the sighting of his first ‘fag’ in a department store are written in a lyrical, stream-of-consciousness style that believably translates the passion and emotion of the moment. We are there with him. It’s skillful writing that enables the moment in which he stands to be seamlessly elongated. In fact, Hamilton’s script has all the characteristics of great writing; the most important being that it doesn’t feel ‘written’ at all.

Let Me Look At You, however, is no great exercise in character development. Starving Artists have chosen to stick to their front man’s life story perhaps more strictly than is necessary for a performance with such dramatic potential. The mention of his liberal parents in Hawaii, for instance, feels like an irrelevant aside. And though the impressions of his Polish grandmother are entertaining, the point of her inclusion – to prove that people should stop trying to understand, and instead just accept – was made apparent by her second appearance. But even if the narrative strand wavers, our attention on Pinkosh does not. He is very likeable. The caramel-y tone of his voice and perfect projection make him a delight to watch, and persuasive, so the invocation of the piece is clear as day. An effective call to arms.  

Reviews by Eva Hibbs

Summerhall

Heather

★★★
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Ancient Shrines and Half Truths

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Let Me Look at You

★★★★
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Ramy: In the Frontline

★★★★
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Kat Bond: Loo Roll

★★★★
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Briony Redman: Theory of Positivity

★★

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Performances

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The Blurb

Winners of two Fringe First Awards. Stand-up meets solo theatre in this personal story from the gay ‘movement’. In the year celebrating half a century since the Sexual Offences Act, the award-winning Starving Artists Theatre Company return to Edinburgh with their trademark hilarious and moving solo stand-up perspective. A brand new show for a new generation. Grounded in history and battered by camp, a fifty-something gay man shares his misadventures while quietly having a nervous breakdown himself.

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