★★★☆☆ | Kiss of the Spiderwoman

Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Menier Chocolate Factory
Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Menier Chocolate Factory Review

Manuel Puig’s story of two men incarcerated in a brutal Argentinian prison is a funny and moving take on masculinity and oppression. Molina is a campy window dresser with a love of old B movies who’s inside for ‘gross indecency’ whilst Valentin is a gruff political activist, bristling with macho ego. It’s a claustrophobic piece and at 1 hour 40 minutes with no interval, you’re pretty much imprisoned with them, watching their relationship develop in a grim cell.

Kiss of the Spiderwoman has had many adaptations since it was written as a novel in 1976 including stage plays, the Oscar-winning 1985 film and a Kander and Ebb musical. This new version is beautifully scripted but somehow the play as a whole doesn’t feel quite there. Samuel Barnett almost captures the endearing feyness of Molina but there’s something slightly undercooked about the portrayal. Declan Bennett seems to struggle a little and the lines occasionally feel stilted. It’s more hit than miss but the piece doesn’t quite feel as tight as it should and the chemistry between the two isn’t always present.

The set is grimily evocative and the back projections of Molina’s flights of celluloid fancy work well. Overall it’s an endearing piece and worth seeing for the glimpses of what it could have been.  There are achingly poignant moments which are something to embrace.

Runs at the Menier Chocolate Factory until 5th of May 2018

A note from the editor.

These are tough times for us all. Without a doubt. But we're here for you and want to continue being here for you for the foreseeable future. THEGAYUK.com needs your help to survive. Due to the nature of the articles that we publish, we find it very hard to monetize our site and have been heavily restricted by ad platforms. This leaves us two ways of making money to keep this site going. 1) We run an online shop which we encourage you to visit and if you can make a purchase and 2) We run popup shops at the prides we media partner with. As you'll no doubt be aware the majority of pride events have been cancelled or postponed for 2020, which leaves our site at risk of closure.

Around 70 per cent of our funding comes from these popup shops. So we have a severe funding shortfall for 2020.

If just 100 people who use this site each donated £2 per month we'd be able to pay for the hosting for the rest of the year - meaning we can continue to keep THEGAYUK online. Please, if you can, consider donating £2 or whatever you can to keep us going.

Thank you.