What happens when you go to a clinic? Well, if you’ve been taking drugs and having lots of unsafe sex, then you might be more likely be HIV+. The new play “The Clinic” explores this scenario, and so much more.
Not so much a play but more of a health education lesson, “The Clinic” is produced by David Stuart, the Lead Substance Use Advisor at 56 Dean Street (a London sexual health clinic based in the heart of Soho), and written by Patrick Cash (writer for QX Magazine).
We are introduced to characters that we may recognize and identify with, portrayed by a cast of London scenesters. DJ Stewart Who plays a sexual health advisor at the clinic; he used to be a drug addicted party animal but now he dispenses HIV advice and results to men much younger than him.
Then there’s the wealthy businessman (Matthew Hodson) who enjoys sex with young men and thinks that he can buy them his love and affection. He’s also in HIV denial.
Zacharian Fletcher is the confused young man, an extreme party boy who likes to go clubbing and take drugs, not necessarily in that order. He’s also into chillouts (orgies). And he’s got HIV. He meets (via Grinder) Damien Killen’s character, a young respectable guy who seems to have a good head on his shoulders, is handsome with a good body, who came to London only to somehow become HIV+. He feels like he’s no longer desired but now damaged.
Then there’s Shirley (Pretty Miss Cairo). She runs a Vauxhall beauty clinic which acts as a sanctuary for the drugged out boys when the clubs close.
These characters may not be real people, but they are composites of characters that Cash met and interviewed after 56 Dean Street commissioned him to write this play. He interviewed not just the people who work at the clinic but some of the patients as well.
It’s a bare bones production, played in the very warm King’s Head Theatre in Angel (take a bottle of water with you, and a hand fan). And the cast should be admired for taking part in this play. It’s difficult at times to hear some of the dialogue (Stewart Who seems to be muttering his words while Fletcher is so soft-spoken I could hardly hear him at all), but Hodson (who is perfect as the villian), Miss Cairo and Killeen more than make up for the play’s faults.
And as you enter the theatre before the play starts, you are given a glossary of terms referred to in the play. There were several words in the glossary that I had never heard of before, so I did learn something new by going to see the play ‘The Clinic.’
It’s a perfect setting for a gay play, a place where we’ve all been to.
‘The Clinic’ is now playing at the Kings Head Theatre in London until August 29th.
To buy tickets, please click here:
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.