★★★ | 5 Guys Chillin’, Kings Head Theatre, London
There’s a chemsex party taking place at the King’s Head Theatre. No, it’s not an actual party – It’s the returning show 5 Guys Chillin’.
In the comforts of the living room of J (David Palmstrom) and M (George Fletcher), them and three other guys (actually men) are enjoying each other as well as the drugs on the table in order to experience the highs, and in some cases, the lows, of what gay men (not all gay men) are getting into nowadays; drugs and sex and more drugs and in some cases unsafe sex in private house parties.
B (Gareth Watkins) and R (Tom Ratcliffe) are a bit of an unmatched couple; R is very young but not so innocent, while muscular big daddy B is experienced and likes it any which way and loose. And the last one to arrive at the party is Pakistani PJ (George Bull). He’s a bit unsure as to why he’s there, but slowly gets into the action. But he’s got a story to tell the other guys; he’s actually married with a young child because it’s what is expected in his culture. Besides him, all the guys have stories to tell; B’s story is particularly vivid as he recounts the time he was spit roasted in Berlin where sexual diseases were not discussed. It’s all a lot to take in; the play’s honesty and brutal nature is scary because know all know these types of gay men, and parties, do actually exist.
And all the actors should be admired for performing such an in your face play shedding emotions as well as bravely shedding their clothes. Writer and Director Peter Darney seems to have gotten the tone and characters right, but luckily I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been and don’t plan to go to one of these parties.
5 Guys Chillin’ plays at Kings Head Theatre until June 3rd