Bleach    **

Theatre

Laughing Horse @ 46 Below  

(V146)

3.45pm

Tyler Everett (here played by writer David Ireland-Reeves) is a young man – at one stage he talks about becoming 23 – who has given up a boring corporate job for the easier life and money of being an escort – or rent boy. For some time he finds this very enjoyable. His attitudes to others, including racial attitudes, are not that savoury, so we can presume we are not meant to identify with him as a role model.

He finds it engaging to meet a wide range of clients in many different social settings, but he does not give us much idea of his attitude to their wealth of their use of him. He makes a visit home to mum, but home is so dull and boring he leaves unannounced, vowing never to go back. He is ok. He is indestructible, he believes.

There comes a time when he is involved in a much darker scene than before, with violence and abuse. How should he react? What really happened? Is he at all guilty? He agonises about all these things, and about the evidence, gets a thrill about how any connection of him to the event may be seen, wobbles between the angst ridden and the amoral. But this type of scene has it fascination for him, and how will that play out?

Ireland-Reeves gives a spirited performance, which is engaging, perhaps too engaging, which hardly allows us to feel the depths of concerns that are troubling him. This is at times an arresting drama, but on a topic that has been considered a few times already. Having a single character who is unable to react with others also limits things.

There is much potential here, and I hope that Ireland-Reeves develops as writer and actor, but this show was rather disappointing.

Tony Challis