★★★★ | Do you have a secret crush?
Something quite extraordinary is happening in Wandsworth, the mid 90’s gay scene has come back to life and it’s hilarious as it is heartbreaking.CREDIT: PND Photography
Based on a true story, Do You Have A Secret Crush (sleeping with straight men) transports you back to mid-90s-America, where a gay man, Stanley (Chris Britton), working in the city’s only gay bar Flamingos, is eager to spread his wings and escape Pontiac in Michigan. He falls head over heels with a straight waiter, Lee (Rich Watkins) whilst out to lunch with his drag queen friend Sally (Dave Lynn).
He devises a plan to tell Lee that he has fallen for him, live in front of a television audience, to be broadcast nationally on the daily chat show The Jill Johnson show.
Flown first class, limo drop offs, all expenses paid trip to New York, both Stan and Lee make their way to the studio separately for the big reveal. What could possibly go wrong?
The small but perfectly formed company fits in the cosy space of the Lost Theatre in the heart of Wandsworth.
You’re immediately transported back to the 90s thanks to a rather fabulous soundtrack and costumes. Britton plays Stanley confidently and cheekily, filled with life. Watkins plays straight man Lee safe, curious and slightly unnerving. Ruth Petersen’s mid-morning Talk Show host is perfectly fake, disingenuous and veneered. Drag icon Dave Lynn smoulders as Sally and belts out some glorious numbers. It is however Louie Westwood who manages to steal the show, with his shrieks and trills, hair tszujing and high-campery.
If your in the mood this summer for some gay history, a slice of campery, a belly of laughs, a hint of longing and a tragic reminder of period less accepting, this glorious time capsule of a play is a must see.
Do You Have A Secret Crush is playing at the Lost Theatre, Wandsworth until 21st August.
SPOILER (if you’ve not heard of the Scott Amedure story.)
It’s an incredibly powerful story – even more chilling that it is based on the murder of Scott Amedure in 1995, who went on the Jenny Jones’ talk show to tell Jonathan Schmitz that he was attracted to him. After a “suggestive” note was delivered an enraged Schmitz bought a shotgun and shot Amedure twice in the chest.
Schmitz was found guilty of second degree murder and is currently serving a 25-50 year sentence.