Review: FIRST TIMEย ย ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

THEATRE

FIRST TIMEย ย 

Summerhallย  ย V26 –ย 16.15

July 31st to August 25th (not 12th and 19th)

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ (Four Star)

This is a captivating, dynamic and moving show written and performed by Nathaniel Hall. He charms us and brings us onside with his opening, where he appears to be unready for our arrival, and dizzy and confused after a hard night out. We soon become aware that this is a guy who is thoroughly in command of every gesture, and deeply professional. He tells us of problems at school, and also of his intimate encounters with the deputy head boy, who is far from out, and seen to be close to a girl at the prom. Our hero looks very good in his cream tuxedo for the school Prom.
It is at this time that his life takes a different turn. He meets a somewhat older guy on a bench, someone he has noticed, and something develops….. it is quite someย  time later that he learns that this first time has left him with a permanent memoir. He finds himself to be HIV positive. He takes us with him as a deeply distressed and unconsoled teenager has to face this situation in the early noughties, with medication having sever side effects. His technique for telling us how he lives his life afterwards allows us to be entertained at the same time as involved.
A good deal of valuable information about living with HIV is provided, including the very important message about being undetectable –ย  that with today’s medication, people being treated for HIV are unable to transmit the infection – thus Nathaniel could be the safest person in the room to have sex with.
He tells us about his more recent achievements, including reading out a personal message at an AIDS vigil.
This may make the show sound a little heavy. Not a bit of it. This is a very fresh and very enjoyable show, performed by a very engaging and talented actor, with many laughs and many unexpected turns. But it is a show with an important and heartfelt message, and a story of a life similar to many that have been lived by those in our community, and it is an experience well worth having.
TONY CHALLIS