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First Time review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘moving and educational’

Nathaniel Hall in First Time at Summerhall, Edinburgh. Photo: Dawn Kilner Nathaniel Hall in First Time at Summerhall, Edinburgh. Photo: Dawn Kilner
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The first summer after you leave school is supposed to be the best summer of your life.

So it was for Nathaniel, as he came out of the closet to accepting parents and began dating a guy he’d met in Stockport on the day of his school prom.

It was a passionate but short-lived affair with devastating consequences. Nathaniel had contracted HIV at the age of 16 and his life would never be the same again.

After years of guilt, anxiety and procrastination, Hall now celebrates he is a survivor.

Manchester-born performer and activist Nathaniel Hall has created this autobiographical piece of confessional theatre in the hope to inspire others living with the virus to live more openly.

A naturally charismatic entertainer, Hall’s story is littered with quick-fire humour and quirky visual diversions that complement narrative.

Its initially comic structure, filled with glitter canons and mirror balls gradually takes on a solid shape, punching home political and emotional key points with devastating clarity.

Hall’s is a deeply personal testimony played out eloquently against a backdrop of fear and ignorance.

First Time may be a short play, but it speaks valiantly in a bid to break the cycle of stigma and shame associated with HIV.

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Vibrant piece of confessional theatre that's both moving and educational