THEATRE REVIEW | 5 Guys Chillin At The Kings Head Theatre


5 Guys Chillin’ is a verbatim drama adapted from over 50 hours of anonymous interviews about the world of chem-sex on the gay scene. ★★

The script is moving and powerful, largely because it’s based on the truth. This being said, I’m not entirely convinced that it works that well as a play.The play, or verbatim drama as it’s called in the program, is centred on 5 guys chilling. Duh. The characters are a combination of guests and hosts of a “chill” which as a 33 year old gay man living in London I can’t believe I didn’t realise that was actually a thing. They have sex, they take drugs and they talk about their past experiences having sex and taking drugs. There are a couple of Mancunians, a Pakistani, a Glaswegian and a painfully unrealistic American that share stories of when they first took drugs, went to a chill and caught various sexually transmitted diseases.

In such an intimate environment in which butt cracks and ball sacks are dangerous close to your pint, it takes a strong actor to keep the audience engaged and the pace of the performance up. Thankfully, actor Elliot Hadley who played one of the Manchurians, was very strong; his natural charm and charisma keeping the performance moving forward where it may have fallen flat.

I’m sorry to say that the piece as a whole did not resonate with me, which may be due to my complete naivety of the whole drugs scene. Thank god there was a glossary in the program otherwise I would have had no idea who the hell Tina was. (it’s crystal meth by the way. Chrystal, christina, tina. Now I get it)

The characters weren’t relatable and were a little too stereotypical for my tastes. Combined with the sweltering heat of the small performance space and the communal sweat of both performers and fellow patrons, it made for a rather uncomfortable evening.

If you have a past with drugs and ‘chilling’ scene, then you’ll likely find this piece powerful. If you don’t you’ll likely just find it shocking and may enjoy watching a documentary more.

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5 Guys Chillin is playing at the King’s Head Theatre until the 24th October at 9:30pm Tuesday – Saturday (3pm and 7pm Sunday)

by Nick Baker | @geekwithoutchic

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About the author: Nick Baker

Travel is such a huge part of modern life, and having grown up overseas and lived as a digital nomad no one gets that more than me.

As the world gets smaller we’re constantly looking for new and exciting places to visit that are safe and welcoming to the LGBT+ community.

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