THEATRE REVIEW: The Boys In The Band starring Mark Gatiss

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE: Vaudeville Theatre

WHEN: 9/2 (matinee), runs to 18/2

We first saw this production last October at the Park Theatre and it was shortlisted for our monsta for Best Revival in 2016.

  • Read on for reasons including why this West End transfer lost one of its stars

It toured England after leaving the intimate surroundings of the Park and transfers to the West End for a brief run of just 15 shows.

Cast and production remain unchanged from its Park Theatre incarnation and for those unfamiliar The Boys In The Band is the story of a birthday party thrown by Michael (Ian Hallard, husband of Mark Gatiss who also stars) for Gatiss’ character Harold.

The setting is an apartment in 1968 Manhattan, a year before the Stonewall riots at the bar of the same name in Greenwich Village initiated the modern era of the gay movement.

Guests include a father-of-two and his new artist boyfriend, a best friend in counselling and a shirtless cowboy as a birthday gift. It’s a far cry from Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party but is no less funny as the celebrations sour, sober host Michael is back on the booze and instigates a game which will have consequences.

We gave this production five stars when we first saw it last year and although little has changed since then it loses a star because the intimacy of the Park Theatre has gone in the move to the much bigger Vaudeville.

Like the Donmar Warehouse, the seats at the Park curve around the stage and we were in the front row, admittedly far stage right, although we were almost immediately next to the door where Gatiss makes a memorable entrance at the close of the first act.

The odd shape of the Vaudeville means that although we’re only half a dozen rows from the front that memorable Gatiss first appearance is completely obscured.

No matter, this is the first time The Boys In The Band has been performed for 20 years and as Gatiss’ character Harold might have said: ‘It’s a laugh riot.’

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Boys In The Band Play. Tickets
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