One of the accepted facts of life is that of all the essentials in a woman’s life the GBF is one of the most important. It’s about the only relationship that a man and a woman can have together where the possibility of sex is guaranteed not to raise its ugly head. What’s a GBF you ask? Why it’s My Gay Best Friend, and there is a wonderful one-act play of that name written by and starring Louise Jameson and Nigel Fairs which I was lucky enough to catch at The Space performing arts and community centre.
The story starts with a ringing phone and an outgoing voicemail message saying Gavin (Nigel Fairs) is not available to take your call, please leave a message. As the lights go on, we see a grubby toilet in which stands Rachel (Louise Jameson) shining in a gold sequined dress and ‘matching’ silver sequined jacket. Rachel is distraught. She is about to take to the stage in an Eastbourne club’s annual karaoke competition, and her gay best friend Gavin is missing. Where is he? It transpires that Gavin is sitting in a walk-in wardrobe with an iPad, an empty yoghurt pot and a determined look on his face. Although he is close to Rachel, he has forgotten what she is doing tonight in his eagerness to assist a lesbian couple in their pursuit of offspring to call their own.
My Gay Best Friend is an extremely well written one-act play that explores the relationship between a fifty something Boots shop assistant and her gay friend from their first meeting as cleaner Gavin destroyed Rachel’s nail varnish display, through to the big night – for both of them. The story is based on some elements of Louise and Nigel’s real lives and that comes across in the flow of the narrative. I have to say as well that the dialogue is exceedingly good. In fact, I have a similar relationship to Gavin’s and Rachel’s with a woman and can definitely confirm the authenticity of the verbal interactions between the two protagonists in the play. Both Louise and Nigel are friends in real life and this really shows in the performance where the affection between the characters and the actors really shines through throughout and Nigel Fairs skillful direction really draws out every nuance of their relationship perfectly.
My Gay Best Friend is full of laughter – Gavin’s description of a dark room in Sitges is superb – but there are moments of high emotion as well. I really would recommend that when you get a chance to see the play, you take along some hankies as only someone with a heart made of stone won’t be shedding a tear by the end.
Overall then My Gay Best Friend is an impressive show that really explores relationships and examines how someone’s past remains with them forever and ultimately affects their present. I really enjoyed it and loved every minute of the roughly sixty minute running time. Hats off to both Louise and Nigel for performing such a fantastic play and credit to director Veronica Roberts.
Review by Terry Eastham
A heady mixture of high camp, melancholy reflection on friendships, and the childhood dramas that haunt us all. Rachel is a fifty-something would-be diva who works in Boots, but is about to make her stage debut. She’s locked herself in the ladies, furious because her gay best friend Gavin isn’t there to support her; he’s sitting in a walk-in wardrobe, about to become a father with a lesbian couple and a turkey baster…
Louise Jameson and Nigel Fairs return to East London venue The Space. This marks the fourth appearance of Jameson and Fairs at The Space. The pair collaborated on Didn’t You Used To Be Derek Jacobi as part of the 2014 One Festival, made special appearances at Halloween fundraiser Ghost Stories alongside Will Seaward and Tim Blackwell, and appeared in self-penned new comedy Driving Me Round The Bend during Summer 2015.
On welcoming the pair back for My Gay Best Friend, Theatre Manager Isabel Dixon said: “Louise Jameson and Nigel Fairs’ recognizable, exciting and critically-acclaimed careers make them true stalwarts of the stage. We are incredibly lucky to continue our relationship with both artists, and are especially excited to programme My Gay Best Friend after hugely successful runs across the UK.”
My Gay Best Friend – 10th December at 7:30pm, and 11th December at 5pm.