WHERE: Studio 2, Trafalgar Studios

WHEN: 16 July runs until 1 August

Audience interaction isn’t for everyone but this 30th anniversary of William M Hoffman’s As Is works it brilliantly. monstagigz caught it on its Thursday matinee when an audience of no more than 40 in Trafalgar Studios’ intimate Studio 2 was whisked back to 1985 New York.

Plays about AIDS risk mawkishness and depression but As Is is, at times, witty, sexy and laugh-out-loud funny. Saul (David Poynor) loves Rich (Steven Webb), who has AIDS (pictured above), as is. Yet Rich has cheated on Saul and the pair’s relationship is complicated and feels real.

Much of this production’s success is in its brilliantly rounded-out cast, particularly Dino Fetscher (who fans of Channel Four’s Cucumber might remember) and Russell Morton, playing a range of characters. Especially hilarious is this pair’s audience interaction as they play increasingly agitated AIDS helpline workers.

We don’t think anyone would be put off by the audience participation. Playful and bawdy, it contrasted brilliantly with the show’s serious subject material.

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