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A CurtainUp London London Review
My Night with Reg

My Night with Reg transfers happily to the West End

My Night with Reg
Lewis Reeves as Eric, and Julian Ovenden as John (Photo: Johan Persson)
I was looking forward to seeing My Night with Reg again and the transfer from the small Donmar Warehouse to the larger Apollo did not disappoint with this play's mixture of bitter sweet comedy and lashings of wit.

The cast remain the same and the performances are as good as ever from these talented actors under Robert Hastie's direction. You will debate whether it is better to lie or be open about a dead person's infidelity. Which would do more damage? How long should you carry a torch for unrequited love? The emotions generated by Kevin Elyot's play will stay with you long after seeing My Night with Reg. Kevin Elyot died in 2014 so do not miss this brilliant revival of one of his expertly written plays which is relevant to universal sexual orientation.

Production Notes as at the Donmar Warehouse below
My Night with Reg
Running time: One hour 55 minutes without an interval
Box Office: 0844 482 9671
Booking to 11th April 2015 at the Apollo Shaftesbury Avenue
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 24th January 2015 performance at the Apollo, Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 7ES (Tube: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square)
The Original Review
"The sound of his own vice." — Benny
My Night with Reg
Geoffrey Streatfeild as Daniel, Jonathan Broadbent as Guy and Julian Ovenden as John (Photo: Johan Persson)
Kevin Elyot's witty play, My Night With Reg gets a brilliant revival at the Donmar Warehouse with an impressive cast. This is the play in which the audience never gets to meet Reg, unlike everyone else who seems to have been intimately involved with him, in this play about AIDS and the community it decimated.

Jonathan Broadbent plays Guy, a rather geeky but likeable host who fusses round his guests and cooks for them. Geoffrey Streatfeild is the ebullient Daniel who besides being Reg's live in partner is the high camp life and soul of the party . Julian Ovenden is John, an attractive man Guy has worshipped since university.

Guy's housewarming is the reason for their meeting in the first act. A pretty conservatory is filled with plants and the very attractive and young Eric (Lewis Reeves) is putting finishing touches to the paintwork. It was the night they couldn't open the champagne as first Dan tried, then John and finally Guy who handed it back to Dan for whom the cork broke off. This unscripted moment saw genuine mirth all round. Dan's toasts were sexually explicit and very funny, for instance"Gross Indecency"and"Sodomy". All three men are very different characters, Guy is socially awkward but anxious to please and his knitting is a running joke, John looks beautiful and seems caught up in his own thoughts and Daniel is personality plus with loads of sexual double entendre in a flying visit.

In the second act, Guy is offering people refreshments after Reg's funeral. Daniel is mourning his partner but plenty of others also have reasons to miss Reg although they do not want Dan to know why. Two new characters are introduced, men in suits with close cropped hair, Benny (Mark Bardock) and the very tedious, so boring that you actually start to feel pity for him, Bernie (Richard Cant). Guy bravely talks to everybody in between looking after stuff in the kitchen. In the final act, there has been another funeral and this time we lose one of the original actors.

Twenty years after it was first produced My Night With Reg still delights with the zapping one liners and an affectionate portrait of these gay men alongside the spectre of AIDS picking off their friends and lovers in four years from 1985. Director Robert Hastie brings out the light and shade in a natural and believable way. Jonathan Broadbent takes the acting honours as Guy, complex and sensitive, still in love with John and displacing with cookery. The poignancy of his housewarming gifts of cookery books, "Solo Banquets" and another cooking for one volume, hurt as they expose his loneliness. My Night With Reg is delightful comedy tinged with sadness and brimful with human emotion and stands the test of time.

For a look at Curtainup's review of the 1997 production of the play by the New Group go here .

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My Night with Reg
Written by Kevin Elyot
Directed by Robert Hastie

Starring: Geoffrey Streatfeild, Julian Ovenden, Jonathan Broadbent
With: Matt Bardock, Richard Cant, Lewis Reeves
Designer: Peter McKintosh
Lighting: Paul Pyant
Sound: Gregory Clarke
Running time: Two hours without an interval
Box Office: 0844 871 7624
Booking to 27th September 2014
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 7th August 2014 performance at The Donmar Warehouse, 41 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LX (Tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square)
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