MenSWEAR Collection: Spunk

Set almost entirely in one small flat, Spunk is the tale of James, a young wheelchair-bound gay man who is in desperate need of a sexual encounter. His decision to call on the skills of a prostitute is much to the dismay of his put-upon carer.

The show comes to an uplifting climax (no pun intended) and the time spent with these three characters makes for an interesting, unique and thoroughly satisfying piece of theatre.

This is the premise for an intricately crafted character study as the three men build up the momentum towards the day that our protagonist will finally get his wish. There are three perfectly rounded characters on show in this piece, each with an individual voice and manner. Stuart Crowther’s writing tackles challenging subject matter and portrays it with dignity, humanity and a sassy sense of humour. The script avoids the regular pitfalls of new LGBT writing in that it portrays its characters as three dimensional beings, full of flaws, hopes, insecurities and a sexual drive. It’s a wonderful piece of writing that contains some perfectly balanced two-hander scenes.

With such a layered script the cast, which includes Crowther himself, are given the opportunity to channel their characters and really push their capabilities as actors. Grant Robert Keelan gives a tremendous naturalism to his performance; he is so convincing in the role that one forgets that he isn’t actually wheelchair-bound himself. It really feels like he has been in this chair for years. Morten Aamodt plays the professional escort; with his sharp suits and even sharper smile, he’s an attractive presence yet there are a few hints of sadness and a longing for something else under the exterior that we often glimpse. The show has a really ground-breaking moment, however, when Crowther as James’s carer gives a beautifully melancholy monologue of his despair at being nothing more than a joke. Crowther’s Aaron is at once a hilarious creation and a sympathetic, pitiful figure. It’s a daring role and Crowther’s risks pay off.

The show is not all doom and gloom, however: there are plenty of laughs to be had thanks to some comedic zingers peppered throughout. The show comes to an uplifting climax (no pun intended) and the time spent with these three characters makes for an interesting, unique and thoroughly satisfying piece of theatre.

Reviews by Stewart McLaren

Online at www.DavidLeddy.com (with Traverse Theatre)

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The Blurb

The last thing that f*cked James was the HGV that landed him in a wheelchair, so to say he's sexually frustrated is an understatement. The way forward seems simple - he'll hire someone to do what no one will do voluntarily: bring him to satisfactory orgasmic climax. James's carer doesn't understand why he would want anything to do with a sex worker, and it's going to take more than a hooker with a BA in Sociology to convince him otherwise. A touching and topical new black comedy about spiders, superheroes, Socrates and shagging.

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