If drama is nothing more than conflict, Counterfeit Skin has it coming out of every pore. Mere opposition alone, however, does not make for dramatic tension.
Jason Charles’ exploration of modern homosexual relationships is freckled with nice moments, but suffers from familiarity and predictability.
Rapidly flicking between a miscellany of urban locations, Counterfeit Skin charts the respective relationships of Leo (John Rayment) and his co-habiting godson Jake (James Kristian) through their inevitable entanglement and entrapment.
Though themes of dominance and submission, honesty and illusion are handled tidily, the plot is dragged down too many short and unnecessary scenes. Too much repetition and outpouring of feelings over the three-hour running time eventually undermines patience with the writing, not helped by a cramped staging.
Nonetheless strong performances surpass the text to provide sporadic excitement. Kristian plays Jake’s naivety entirely without judgement, spitting out his words with a beautifully misguided confidence. Rayment appears immensely comfortable onstage, bringing a natural and laid-back quality to Leo, while, as Ralph, Dean Lyle provides effective comic relief and a hopelessly romantic counterfoil to Jake.
There is potential here: Counterfeit Skin might make reasonable television, but if it is to survive onstage it requires more than a little nip/tuck treatment.