Did we like it?
Not much, to be honest. It was so full of people behaving towards each other in ways that no real person ever would that the stunning dramatic moments and stunning performances were left in the shadows.
What was good about it?
• Kevin Elyot, who wrote the much better My Night With Reg, managed to paint a broad portrait of gay life in London without any bitchy queens or thumping disco scenes, which was a big relief. But most of it seemed to be a reflection of the gay scene of 20 years ago and his characters lacked reality.
• Elyot can also be applauded for weaving together several stories set during a steamy 36 hours in London. The coincidences were far-fetched but we begrudgingly accepted them, as he did need to achieve some sort of dramatic effect.
• There were some great performances, especially David Leon as Alfie, the overawed young gay guy who has recently arrived in London from Shropshire, Phoebe Nicholls as spiteful actress Natasha, who hates homosexuals and hasn’t got a clue that her 14-year-old son Theo is one, Joseph Mawle as the repressed Tim and Samantha Bond as the airheaded closet bigot Marion.
• There were a few gems in the script (too few) including the gay vicar insisting: “I may be a rampant old sodomite, darling, but I still believe that Jesus wants me for a sunbeam” and Marion’s bigotry: “We accept you now so can’t you behave like normal people.”
What was bad about it?
• Hardly any of the interactions seemed at all viable. Gay cruising was so circumspect you’d think being banged up for buggery was still available as a punishment. The eager schoolboy’s seduction of the reluctant paedophile – oh what a twist – was bizarre. The middle class dinner party was riven with rifts that may have been amusing in a comedy show but ignored the fact that middle-class dinner party guests always behave with forced politeness.
• There was too much ugliness and victimhood. Gay bashers do exist but to clock up the number of victims that Elyot did made this pretty distasteful. Unfaithful gay men do exist but not on the night of their wedding – and they certainly don’t hand over their wedding rings to the waiter they’ve seduced using fine words, a line of cocaine and a swig of champagne. Deceitful married gay men do exist but cottages equipped with glory holes so they can indulge themselves do not (we’re reliably informed).
• While the display of Paul Nicholls adjusting his penis in his white briefs was welcome, his role as a gay basher/repressed homosexual was never properly examined.
• “She got run down.” “Depressed, like?” “No by a mail van.” The clunkiest dialogue of the piece.