Play Something (**)
The Drayton Arms Theatre is the embodiment of a London Fringe venue: a cute end-on theatre space above a gorgeous historic pub serving fantastic food and drink.
Their current show ‘Play Something’ by Paul T. Davies (also on directing duties) unfortunately doesn’t quite match up to it’s early promise.
The concept of the play, to be fair, is intriguing; how certain songs can serve as a soundtrack to the crucial moments in our lives. We meet ‘M’ (a needy but out’n’proud gay man played by Ben Maytham) and ‘F’ (a closeted leatherboy policeman played by Jacko Pook).
After some vigorous simulated sex scenes we follow their relationship and each critical emotional event provokes the demand to ‘Play the Break Up Song’ or ‘Play the Song that Made Him Stay’.
It worked best when linked to a titan of the global musical lexicon such as River Deep Mountain High or Stay With Me Baby (The Logical Song by Supertramp not so much!) Its great if you share the same taste in music – painful if you don’t.
These songs bookmark a moment in time and have the power to retrieve emotions in a truly visceral manner.
As the relationship develops we cover various themes such as safe sex, coming out, drink and drug dependencies, the death of parents and being a carer in older age. Phew! Inevitably, the effectiveness of the play is lost by covering way too much territory and the direction is rudimentary to the point of being reminiscent of a sixth form end of term play.
Jacko Pook does, however, bring an intensity to his role and gives a suitably deranged performance as a man with insatiable demons – surely there hasn’t been this amount of illicit sex and drug taking by a copper since Irvine Welsh’s Filth! There are also moments of music related humour when ‘F’ assures ‘M’ that they are about to see Kylie’s last ever tour!
‘Play Something’ is not a hugely sophisticated piece, and probably tries to say too much to be coherent, but any show that has the power of music at its heart, has indeed got its heart in the right place.
18th September 2018 – 22nd September 2018
REVIEW: JONNY WARD
Jonny Ward, Queerguru Contributing Editor is a drama graduate but has worked backstage for many years at venues such as The Royal Albert Hall, The 02, Southbank Centre and is currently at The National Theatre. He lives in Hoxton, London and is delighted to check out the latest, the hottest and the downright dodgy in queer culture for Queerguru. (P.S. He is currently single)
P.S. Queerguru would love you to bits if you did us one tiny favor. Despite the fact that we have had almost 310K hits on YouTube (yeah!) they will not give us a single cent of the advertising money that they make off us until we have more subscribers. Won’t cost you a dime, but it will help support our site. Just simply click on the link below. Thank you very much!