Two Short Plays About Gays is on at Hope Theatre in Islington until Saturday 24 September: http://www.thehopetheatre.com/productions/two-short-plays-gays/
Star Rating: ****
One of Two Short Plays About Gays, Middle Aged Rent has been written by Lesley Ross and thoughtfully and innovatively directed by Nigel Fairs. This has been written to premiere at The Hope Theatre and it is touching, thought provoking and quite a journey of a play.
It tells the story of a teenager who is trying to find his way and himself in London in the 80’s. The older ‘him’ (Gregory Ashton) narrates and interacts with his ‘younger self’ (Joseph Martin) and together they paint a picture of the crazy, heady times from the past. We visit the night club where Mona Lot takes the young rent boy under her wing and Kitty treats the newcomer with distinct distain. Although several characters are introduced, this remains a two-hander and that works well, it allows the audience to use their own imagination. It’s also testament to the writing and the outstanding performances that this does work with two performers. The space lends itself to the piece, superbly and the lack of set and props is also an asset as it allows the piece to speak for itself.
Gregory Ashton is an engaging actor who, I found, has a fantastic ability to draw you in, and his interaction with the audience was a bold and successful move. Joseph Martin was a good match, he connected with Ashton brilliantly and is one to watch for in the future. I feel we have seen a snapshot of what he is capable of, but what a snapshot this was!
If you enjoy new writing and you’re willing to embrace a controversial topic which is portrayed with elements of heart, warmth, exceedingly witty comedy and a healthy dose of drama, this is the piece for you!