Sunday, August 31, 2014

Unrequited London properties: My Night With Reg

I finally caught up with the sellout show My Night With Reg. Kevin Elyot's funny and groundbreaking play is revived with style and a great cast at the Donmar.

Although there is perhaps a tad too much style here when depicting gay men living in London in the 1980s. In the days before home renovation television shows introduced the masses to beige, I thought most of them decorated their flats as if they were pubs.


The piece is more about love and English relationships than about being gay or AIDS. Jonathan Broadbent is a standout as the central character Guy, who is unlucky in love, and his inability to express himself (except with his aprons) is heartbreaking to watch.

Over three scenes set in Guy's apartment over a number of years, we revisit a circle of friends during the AIDs epidemic. Unrequited love, domesticity and infidelity ensue.

At the time it it first premiered at the Royal Court (and then transferred to the West End), on Broadway you could see Angels In America. While the latter was ambitious in scope and epic, this piece focuses on the minutiae of middle-class life.

Which is not to say it is bad, but the weightlessness of the piece did leave me wondering was the central message gay men should not leave flats in their will to people they fancy?

Elyot saved most of the gay gore for later works such as Clapham Junction, but there is a bit of full frontal nudity in the piece.

Still, it's lovely to look at. It runs through September. There are limited tickets available through the Barclays Front Row scheme.

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Photo credits: production photos