TheSpace on the North Bridge venue 36

August 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24.

*** Three stars

Chris is a man in his sixties. He was married for thirty odd years, but his wife has died. She was aware of his gay feelings, even before he admitted them to himself. Before she died she told him that he must do what he wishes after she goes, and not be alone.

In this play, written by Ian Tudor-Bell, we see quite an old-fashioned gentleman, whose story could almost have been played out in the eighties, except that he is using Grindr to find men. And being frustrated and stood up.

Then he begins a lengthy conversation on the site. This younger man is keen. They talk for days online and on phone, then meet. One thing that is really good here is the capturing of the real embarrassment of both parties when they first meet. The way they both have to almost push themselves towards each other is almost palpable. Then there is the embarrassment about kissing. This is such a very new area for Chris, and we are made to feel that with him.

The strength of the play is in the characterisation. Chris and his daughter Alice are both strong people, and they often argue. Yet they are people who tend to realise that there is more to life than arguing, and to make up in good time. The boyfriend has a habit of being late, which causes some problems. But the relationship has wings, despite problems.

This at first seems a very gentle play indeed, but it gradually develops tension and action. It is very good to see the situation of someone who has been as reclusive in his personal life as Chris displayed on stage, and to see such a very believable relationship.

I would like to have seen the relationship as it develops beyond the ending here. The play could have been more ambitious, and it seems that things follow a pretty untroubled path. The play is realistic, comforting, but could have been more challenging. However, it is admirable that this story is there to be seen.

Tony Challis