The Bunker Theatre, London
A comic, poignant and occasionally surreal whirlwind tour of what happens when Seán, a young Irish gay man from a Catholic family, is spurned by said family and barred from bringing his fabulous boyfriend to his sister’s wedding. Naturally, Seán plots a devilish revenge.
Cormac Elliott, as Seán, owns centre stage as he narrates us through the frantic action of the show and reveals to us someone struggling to be more of himself as he tries to throw off the prejudices of his upbringing including internalised homophobia and femmephobia. Meanwhile, the other actors played an impressive range of characters. Highlights included Katherine Laheen as Seán’s mum who had the audience rapt as she narrated the excitement of her wedding day and Ashling O’Shea was just epic as the personification of revolution and Sean’s best friend, Callista. Clare McGrath was great as Seán’s protective, prejudiced and anxious sister and Charlie Ferguson did a fab job as multiple dates including a rash-prone Professor and a nervous Tory voter. He was also very convincing as the very straight and very average finance whose name I can’t remember he was so marvellously bland.
Director, Robbie Taylor-Hunt, deserves a small award for the mileage he got out of four mics working as Skype, Tinder, a night club, a four headed grandma and even Cats the musical. Lights, sound and staging effortlessly enhanced the theatricality of the show, with a pair of red heels begging a certain question throughout the play. John King’s writing is witty and sharp and he has crafted a memorable and unique story of growing up as a gay man. There were times when the monologue nature of the script hampered the drama, as Seán often spoke for characters whose voices I wanted to hear, especially some of the Tinder dates who were often reduced to laughable tropes rather than comic characters with human edges (but then maybe that’s more of Seán’s prejudices). I also would happily have watched an entire play dedicated to the wedding itself or even just an hour of Callista make mayhem of heteronormative convention. Otherwise, this was a very fun night out.
Photo © Connor Harris
Review © R.H 2018
On at The Bunker Theatre, London, until 28th September 2018. Book Now.