“A wedding is just paying lots of money so that your friends will treat you like a famous person for a day” ★★★
Gar and Anthony are a couple with mismatched expectations. Anthony wants tidiness and order and is anticipating a nice home, marriage and children. Gar is conflicted in his expectations of what a relationship should be and is still using Grindr. In fact he’s regularly sleeping with a young bloke who he originally chatted to on the app. Predictably, this isn’t going to end well.
“This Much’ is a presented as part physical theatre with an absurdist slant. The three men move about in stylised and frenetic sequences in a cunningly devised set of wooden boxes. There’s an array of household goods that would make Argos proud. Bursts of cheesy music a la Smooth FM play loudly. The men dance, frantically perform tasks and occasionally get their cocks out. The action feels anarchic at times and is watchable. It might sound odd but this aspect of the play mostly works well. I mean the physical theatre, not the cocks, although there’s nothing wrong with what these actors put in front of you.
Sadly, the play itself doesn’t fare quite so well. There’s a strong central performance from Lewis Hart as Gar and the play contains bursts of genius humour and some well crafted lines. John Fitzpatrick has definite promise as a playwright but the characterisation and dialogue is occasionally flimsy. The premise of examining the sexual conflicts that can face gay men in being monogamous isn’t anything new or revelatory and is draped on a skeletal story that fails to engage the viewer. The play also fails to convincingly add much to the audience’s understanding of modern gay life and isn’t especially thought provoking. Thinking back to Matthew Todd’s 2005 “Blowing Whistles”, which has thematic similarities, this pales in comparison.
In spite of the flaws there’s a lot to commend and the 70-minute show is entertaining and funny. Fitzpatrick is a writer to watch out for. Oh…and there’s some cocks.
This Much runs at the Soho Theatre till the 2nd July.