★★★★ | Party at Above The Stag
There’s a party going on in Vauxhall and you’re all invited!
Party, a play at the Above the Stag theatre, is about seven gay men who get together one evening to hang out, chat, be together, and basically talk about sex, as gay men do! And what a party it is! It involves alcohol, lots of alcohol, where seven handsome and hunky guys pretty much up for anything, play a game called Fact or Fantasy, a bit like Truth or Date, which involves, of course, male nudity – all taking place in a cozy living room.
Party, written by David Dillon in 1992, originally ran in Chicago before moving to New York, and has even been produced internationally.
For this version, directed by Gene David Kirk, the party, and action, takes place in a British man’s living room, with references to British culture, news, and the requisite British accents! It’s the home of Kevin (Nic Kyle), who is letting out his extra bedroom to Peter (Stefan Gough). In attendance at the party are dancer Brian (Jamie Firth), teacher Ray (Ben Kavanagh), Philip (Lucas Livesy), James (Sam Goodchild) and young and innocent Andy (Tom Leach). They’re all friends, good friends, but when they decide to play Fact or Fiction, a game where one man is to tell the truth, lie, or act out someone else’s fantasy, secrets are revealed, as well as skin, lots of skin, in a game where being shy is not an option! And it’s Ray who steals the show with best lines – he actually berates Andy for not knowing who ‘Barbra’ is or how to tell the difference between a cast album and a soundtrack. Peter reveals, during the game, that he’s got a secret crush with one of the men, while Brian is sexy and he knows it, and is the first to strip off. It’s a party in this intimate theatre where the audience feels like they’re right in the middle.
Party is 100 minutes of very funny jokes, lively atmosphere, and laugh out loud comedy. It’s play which celebrates gay men who enjoy the company of other gay men, sexual attraction or not. And all the actors deserve praise, and courage, for baring it all – it’s exciting and done in good taste. This is one party you definitely don’t want to miss.
Party plays at Above The Stag until October 30th
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.