A gay schoolboy begins to crack under the pressure from his peers to conform, a situation not helped by his relationship with the closeted head boy.
Patrick Wilde’s tale debuted in the early nineties when the infamous Section 28 law was being enforced and the age of consent for gay men was 21. The years have offered many improvements to the law, but they have been less kind to Wilde’s play. The angry young hero of the play, Steven Carter, still rages, but today it sounds more like petulance than rebellion.
As director, Wilde’s production is lively and full of interesting ideas that ensure the pace never lets up. Oliver Jack is well cast as Steven and his burgeoning relationship with Christopher Birk’s head boy remains the most satisfying part of the story.
Both actors handle the emotional scenes well and their interaction with fellow schoolmates, played by Andrew Bryant and Tom Millen, seem particularly realistic. Matt Granados is particularly amusing as the suave Glen, who is nearly pushed out of the closet in the second act.
Nic Gilder is good as history teacher Simon Hutton, ensuring that the message of the play is driven home, counter-pointing the actual narrative with the history of his character’s own sexual awakening.
What’s Wrong With Angry? played an important part in the development of gay theatre at the end of the last century. Whilst Wilde is keen to point out in his notes that intolerance is as strong as it ever was, this play’s edge has been lost.