★★★★ | Strangers in Between, Kings Head Theatre
Great performances by a cast of three is the highlight of the play ‘Strangers in Between.’
Playing for the second year in a row at the Kings Head Theatre, ’Strangers in Between’ is a drama about a young man experiencing the big city for the first time. Shane (Roly Botha) has moved from his small hometown in Australia to the big city of Sydney. He says he’s 19, and he works in a liquor store yet doesn’t even know how to use the register. In walks a customer – gay and trendy Will (Dan Hunter). Shane at first is a bit intimidated by him, but they manage to make small talk until another customer walks in – Peter (Stephen Connery-Brown) – a middle-aged gay man looking for a simple yet inexpensive bottle of wine. Eventually, Shane gets Will’s number.
Shane lives in the Kings Cross section of Sydney, an area teeming with prostitutes and crime. But Shane loves it there, especially as it’s far away from his family, and especially brother, he ran away from. He and Will hook up for a few trysts – it’s purely a sexual relationship – while Shane finds comfort in his friendship with Peter. But Shane has a couple secrets, one being his age, and the other involving his homophobic brother Ben (Hunter). But suddenly Ben finds Shane in Sydney after Shane’s world is falling apart after he has lost his job and contracted an STD from Will.
The cast is very admirable but it’s Botha who shines. His Shane is young, cute, innocent and with a nervous tick – he dominates the very small stage – Botha is a wonder. Hunter ably does double duty as Will and Ben, while Connery-Brown is very good as Peter. While the ending is a bit of a letdown, the play, written by Tommy Murphy, is a show that all of us can relate to because at one time we were all young and innocent and new to the big city.
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Strangers In Between plays at the Kings Head Theatre until 4th Feb 2017
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.