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A CurtainUp London Review
The play opens with Danny recalling the death of his brother Alex, who slipped and cracked his head after being chased by yobs after Alex had taken and was wearing Danny’s distinctive yellow jacket. A group of yobs used to follow Danny home calling him names and he thinks his brother was mistaken for him.
Jamie drops round to see Joe and Danny telling them that he has had an altercation with a seven year old telling a six year old that Jamie is gay. Jamie deals with this well asking the seven year old to explain what he thinks gay means but later when fifty two pieces of paper with the word FAGOT (stet) on them are put through his letter box, he is unsettled. Later there are more serious actions from the homophobic louts.
What EV Crowe’s play does is to expose gay bashing behaviour except that the victim in this case is not gay. The playwright’s point is that gay bashing is wrong no matter what the sexuality of the victim. The “heroic” action is whether Danny should “come out” to his primary school children when his partner Joe says, “Mathematically speaking, I think the square root of male homosexual primary school teacher times one is paedophile.” There are delightful descriptions of a primary school teacher’s themed day fitting curriculum and ethics into studies of Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada.
Jeremy Herrin’s production is set, first in Joe and Danny’s pretty kitchen and then in Jamie and Lisa’s less aesthetic kitchen. Mike Britton’s design, the wooden floor with its multiple, painted and lit lines for court games and the neon squares above recall a school setting. Liam Garrigan’s Danny is essentially likeable, Tim Steed’s Joe is practical, Daniel Mays’s Jamie is cackhanded, awkward and unwelcome, Susannah Wise’s Lisa has a smaller and less significant part.
The sub text is who will make the better parents? A play with important themes.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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