I went to a Fabulous Party by Andy Davies
Directed by Dan Phillips
On at The Kings Head Theatre (London) Until July 5th, prior to it’s Edinburgh run.
It’s a simple premise, a group of men get together for a few drinks. Jokes are shared, grievances aired and a young man explores his burgeoning sexuality, it’s light-hearted and entertaining. It delves gently into an exploration of gay culture and at times plays to familiar stereotypes rather than examining the varied experiences of being gay in a modern world. It is however a celebration of being a gay man and it is always a beautiful and important thing to celebrate being our authentic selves. As such, there is a sense that it is aimed primarily at a gay male audience. It is not that it excludes other members of the audience but rather because it is not trying to tell anyone anything they don’t already know. The “in jokes” are funny and the banter is sharp and caustic, though I craved a little more drama to move the story along.
As far as theatrical experience goes, it’s fun, you are invited into the “party” and the fourth will is frequently broken to keep you feeling a part of the action. This is early days for this show so the cast may still be finding their feet a little but once they get into the swing of things they seem to be having fun with it. Each of the seven performers at some point or another get mostly or completely naked, in fact at times it feels like a strip tease with a plot although it comes across more endearingly playful than erotic. In fairness though, that could be more to do with my not really being the target audience so to speak!
The King’s Head is a fabulous theatre and works well for creating the sense of audience involvement you need for a play like this. The design is clever, making the best use of the space and creating a party atmosphere that is much more recognisably true to life than the representations we often see on stage and screen. The ebb and flow of conversation, the awkward slow start, the manic moments when everything goes a bit crazy and the inexplicable lulls where someone makes toast. All this is much more familiar from real life experiences of parties that what we are told to expect from media portrayals.
We may not be invited into the unchartered depths of these characters souls, but for an evening we are invited into their house and into their world and really that is what you want from a party.
©Alexandra Birchfield 2015
Alexandra is a New Zealand born writer and actor who has been living in the UK for 4 years. She spent the first three years in Glasgow studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is now living in London with two lovely flatmates and one very pampered cat.