WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE?: Park Theatre
WHEN: 9/10 (matinee), runs to 30/10
We’d read quite a lot about this Mart Crowley classic before we decided to give it a go.
- Read on for why Mark Gatiss isn’t the best reason to see this
The 1968 play is renowned for its dark second half during which our cast of eight gay men and one who declares himself straight explore their self loathing.
The first half however is a riot as we join Michael (a convincing Ian Hallard) and his friend Donald (Daniel Boys giving the most understated and touching performance, pictured above left) as they prepare to host a birthday party for Mark Gatiss’ character (pictured above centre).
Gatiss makes the most of a supporting role but shouldn’t be your main reason to see this lovingly recreated period piece not least because he appears only as the joyous first half is about to close.
The supporting cast is strong: particularly James Holmes as the screamingly camp Emory; Ben Mansfield’s artistic Larry; Greg Lockett’s fun-loving but remorseful Bernard; and Jack Derges’ lovably dim Cowboy.
While the racial teasing of Bernard sits poorly with a contemporary audience, it does make sense giving the timeframe of the piece: a laugh-out-loud exploration of what it was to be gay, and outrageously funny, in a pre-AIDS, late 60s New York.
We very much approve of Sunday matinees and enjoyed seeing The Libertine‘s Lizzie Roper in the audience too. It was also our first visit to the venue, which reminded us very much of central London’s Donmar, and we’ll definitely be returning. Great to see members of the cast in the bar afterwards also.