Two Short Plays About Gays
Directed by Nigel Fairs
With a title as overly literal as “Two short play about gays”, I was anticipating a funny, possibly bawdy, couple of theatrical snippets. I was not expecting to see two incredibly moving, hilarious and heart-wrenching plays. Yet that was exactly what I got.
The evening is billed as “Two short plays…” as there are two separate stories which take place, both around 30/35 minutes. In the wrong hands 30 minutes can take an age but both “Middle Aged Rent” and “The Diva Drag” flew by, leaving you wanting more. And I wasn’t alone; speaking to my friend and a few fellow audience goers afterwards and we were all greedy for more of the tales and all the characters. To me, that is the sign of fantastic story telling as well as editing. What you leave out is as vital as what you keep and both plays were well-paced, never a dull moment, sincere storytelling at its finest.
I want to avoid telling too much of the plotline as you really ought to go see it for yourself but as a brief summary “Middle Aged Rent” is about a rent boy and his older self and “The Diva Drag” is a son having a truthful conversation with his mother. Though the stories both focused on the experience of a young rent boy and in the second half as a rent boy made good, were so much bigger and deeper than that and felt accessible for a really varied crowd. The lightness of some of the comedic moments (which had the audience almost crying with laughter) effortlessly switched to raw emotions. Totally a “you’ll laugh and you’ll cry” but in a truthful, considered way, not manipulative button pushing designed to try and take the audience on a rollercoaster ride. This was just good writing.
It felt like all the elements worked beautifully here; the shows were practically without set and props (practically…very minimal) but yet the bustling streets and interior of the club were as if you could see them. I could totally see it all. And performances by Joseph Martin, Gregory Ashton (who also wrote, credited as Lesley Ross) and Louise Jameson were fantastic.
These plays may be short but they truly packed a powerful punch. Go and see it.
Two short plays about gays @ The Hope Theatre. On until 24th September
© Sarah Browne 2016