Review: Kids Play *****

THEATRE

KID’S PLAY

The Space  @ Niddry Street

Aug 16-25 17:15

***** (FIVE STARS)

Greg Fellowes is irritated, embarrassed and maybe discombobulated when we first see him stride onto the stage followed by the eager, casually dressed and somewhat puppyish Theo Martin. This is by no means the first time either has found themselves in the company of a person so very different from themselves, but with hopes of certain unusual satisfactions. However, Greg is here for a conference, and this is awkward. He had tried unsuccessfully to cancel this one. Yet he has with him the tools of his special hobby, and we will see these demonstrated. Plus he is annoyed.

Theo, played by Clement Charles, is an enthusiast for just this sort of encounter. As online porn has become increasingly mainstream, many young people feel an inclination to experiment. Why not? This is a common feeling. How far will they go? Are they aware of the dangers they are risking? Has Theo just been lucky so far? Is his luck just about to run out?

Clement Charles is fully convincing as Theo, in all his fresh enthusiasm, his occasional challenges, and his neediness. Gareth Watkins plays the role of Greg with great subtlety, as we see various emotions pass across his face, and see the man beneath the fine suit that so impresses and fascinates Theo. Yes, Theo has quite a thing for suits, the stature and dignity they represent for him, and the sort of person he believes to be within the cloth. Yet there is a hand action of Greg’s that upends our previous view of him. Watch out for this.

Director Glenn Chandler has here given us something strongly different from what we have seen him present before. There is still an edge of the seat aspect, and there is some very unusual humour, and we follow a script that has many twists and turns. Corkscrew-like emotionally this may be, but there is no feeling of inconsistency to any part of it. There are many real surprises, but the journey provides fine views and insights, and is well planned.

This is a very intriguing and appealing show that has significant things to say about the way some gay and bisexual lives are lived. It will engross you from the start, and maybe alter your perspective. It is sure to set very many conversations going. It sold out the night I went, so you need to get your tickets very quickly.

Tony Challis