To misquote Groucho Marx: I went to a fabulous party, but this wasn’t it.
Matt (Piers Hunt) and Lee (Mark Ota) are not civil partners. They are married. The former is hosting a house party, and one by one, other men, also arrive. This play does well to celebrate homosexuality, but then lets itself down by stereotyping characters. Matt’s the one with the apron on doing the vacuuming, and Lee may as well have ‘sicknote’ as a nickname as there is always something wrong with him. Chris (Gregory A Smith) is the camp one, Darren (Luke Kelly) is the fit-and-he-knows-it guy, Tom (Stephen Oswald) is the older guy, Josh (Carlton Venn) is the teenage virgin and Paul (Ahd Tamimi) isn’t so much gay as bisexual.
During the course of the house party, the men converse, have drinks and generally have themselves a good time. And that’s really about it. Josh is at the stage where he isn’t sure whether he definitely is gay, and it’s a coming of age story that could have been explored more deeply. Instead, it’s somewhat glossed over. What is emphasised instead is, for instance, Darren posing in front of Matt’s laptop recording videos and photos on some dating website or other, or Lee joining Darren in full nudity.
There was some breaking of the fourth wall, including the taking of a man in the audience backstage for a few moments before he re-emerged and had his top removed (it was given back!). Lest anyone forgot this was a ‘party’, there were moments of discotheque music dispersed throughout the performance, involving the characters bouncing around and dancing, before resuming dialogue.
The power of theatre is so very often at its fullest where there is tension, confrontation, aggression, fits of rage, and so on. Here, everyone just got on fine. There were differences of opinion, but no serious arguments. This would be so refreshing in an actual house party, but it makes for rather bland theatre. However, in a world where a number of countries still consider homosexuality a criminal offence, this show does make us all, whatever our sexual preference, remember that our civil liberties should not be taken for granted.
Review by Chris Omaweng
The King’s Head Theatre is proud to present I Went To a Fabulous Party…, a warm, funny, moving, honest play about being a gay man in 2015 in the UK. It explores the superficial nature of dating apps, the need for good looks and fab abs, and the most challenging coming out of all, to yourself!
A party amongst friends gets saucy when two newcomers challenge the dynamic at married couple Matt and Lee’s. Booze flows, perceptions are upset and the guys get naughty in this camp, lively and fun new comedy.
Estimated Running Time: 65 minutes
Minimum Age: 16+
Warning Contains: Full frontal nudity and strong language.
13th June to 5th July 2015
Saturday 20th June 2015