Gay sex and the city

  • Theatre
 
Gay sex and the city

Published:

Mon, 23/01/2017 - 14:47

By:

oscar
Growing pains: Strangers In Between is at the King’s Head. Photo: Andreas Griege
Growing pains: Strangers In Between is at the King’s Head. Photo: Andreas Grieger
Published: 
23 January, 2017
by ALINA POLIANSKAYA

STRANGERS IN BETWEEN
at King’s Head Theatre

STRANGERS in Between follows the life of an Australian lad who has left home and moved to the big city, as he tries to come to terms with his sexuality. 

Young Shane, ably played by emerging actor Roly Botha, soon discovers, with some surprise, that in Sydney “it’s OK to be gay”. But his own feelings on the matter are a mad tangle between his true desires and the intolerant views of those he has left behind in his small hometown. 

Sweet, naïve and overly chatty, the youngster’s character turns dramatically when he is confronted with a difficult situation following a sexual encounter. His flashes of white-hot anger show this young man is more troubled than we thought, but make for quite difficult viewing. 

While the underlying storyline, written by Australian playwright Tommy Murphy, explores a serious topic, it is the snippets of mundane conversation – about fabric softener and how to store groceries – that are the most charming. Above everything, this is a young man out on his own for the first time – the simple things that adults take for granted, like how to do laundry, can appear like a mountain to climb to any teenager finding his way on his own – and Botha portrays this with humour and skill. 

The intimate play is pulled off by a strong cast of three, with Dan Hunter and Stephen Connery-Brown taking on the roles of Will and Peter, who befriend Shane. But the decision to have the same actor switching roles between Shane’s brother and his love interest, is perhaps a little odd. 

There are bravely done sexual scenes, some very enjoyable and humorous conversations, and a bit of somewhat gratuitous, yet innocent, nudity. 

A simple set lets the acting do all the talking, and scene changes take place in full view of the audience, which works – but the dramatic music and lighting proves a little jarring.

The story shows that friendship can come in many forms, and the characters develop beyond the obvious as the play goes on. It explores the idea of acceptance of oneself and others, and shows things are not always as simple as they first appear. 

All in all, this snapshot of a young man's life is endearing and funny, thought-provoking and poignant and well worth a watch.

020 7226 4443
Until 4 February

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