“It’s about us—together,” explain Jake Jarratt and Cameron Sharp, in their new play in which two drama students – straight “Jake”, gay “Cameron” – end up trying to sleep in the last free bed at an end-of-term house-party. They’re sort of strangers, despite being on the same course, and “emotionally tired” rather than simply drunk, but over the course of an hour we’re shown a night that might just make their lives better.
A playful, occasionally touching exploration of two young men working out how the rules of masculinity apply to them.
Against a relentless background of mediocre dance beats, and muffled other-side-of-the-wall fornication, W*nk Buddies is a playful, occasionally touching exploration of two young men working out how the rules of masculinity apply to them: whether you’ve arrived at Uni from Durham, or just want to dance the night away in a local gay bar. The unsurprising revelation of the story is that both these men are “fish out of water” — Jake, the working class kid for whom Drama was originally the warmer-roomed option for Detention; and Cameron, forever the “poof” in a straight world.
Both embody, and are fighting, certain stereotypes around masculinity, straight and gay—and the show goes some way to summarise these either through the occasional fourth-wall-breaking nod to the watching audience, or a dance routine — performed with what can safely be assumed to be a deliberate and endearing roughness. That said, football-speaking, beer-drinking ex-boxer Jake is already further from his safety zone than Cameron; the girl’s bedroom in which they’re both not sleeping is a spectrum of pink and Britney albums, and more cocooning than the local gay bar he once visited like a tourist.
Scripted by both performers, W*nk Buddies – succinctly directed by Melanie Rashbrooke – understandably plays to both performers’ strengths, and fits its Fringe-friendly one-hour slot well. Yes, it arguably needs a more clearly sign-posted conclusion; and, without mikes, some dialogue was occasionally lost as the music was turned up-to-eleven. But as a heart-warming reminder of the need for us to both listen and explain our lives, W*nk Buddies is fine indeed.