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My Gay Best Friend review at Hope Theatre, London – ‘intimate and emotionally engaging’

Louise Jameson and Nigel Fairs in My Gay Best Friend at the Hope Theatre, London Louise Jameson and Nigel Fairs in My Gay Best Friend at the Hope Theatre, London
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Rachel and Gavin are best friends. Initially they appear to have little in common as Gavin is a good listener and Rachel can talk for England.

They bond over singing lessons but as Rachel prepares to take to the stage, Gavin is nowhere to be seen. Through a series of monologues the authors gradually reveal the extraordinary depth of their affection and the ties that bind them together.

Written by real-life pals Louise Jameson and Nigel Fairs, My Gay Best Friend presents the hidden complexity behind what might be otherwise perceived as a cliched relationship. The lyrical dialogue gently exposes elements of their past, which in turn informs their friendship. Both have suffered loss or abuse and because of this, they are desperately wary of trusting men again, despite an evident longing.

It helps immensely that the authors are also the actors. Both Jameson and Fairs turn in delicately nuanced performances enhancing the bittersweet tone of the play. Fairs as Gavin is witty and excitable, a twinkle in his eye hinting at the happiness of a past life and a new found hope for the future. Jameson once again proves to be one of the most versatile and emotionally eloquent actors working today. Her Rachel is gobby and abrasive but damaged too and terrified of letting her guard down and being hurt again.

My Gay Best Friend may be a short play but it’s tightly directed by Veronica Roberts and delivers a satisfying, if slightly sentimental, conclusion.

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Verdict
Intimate and emotionally engaging study of an unlikely friendship
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