This new play by Rory Thomas-Howes confronts the spectre of internalised homophobia in gay men. Ally and Zach have been together for five years, although the past year has been tricky. Zach has lost his mother to Alzheimer’s and grief has led to him sleeping on the sofa. On the eve of Ally’s 30th birthday, the couple move into a new flat that will hopefully mark a fresh start, but niggling doubts bubble to the surface and the couple have a conversation they should have had years before.
Thomas-Howes’ biting script is an engaging new two-hander. It’s relatively easy to script a piece of catty dialogue but A Partnership has volumes more insight than this. The characters are truthful, with a well-structured sense of history and as the tension builds it is impossible to second-guess the outcome. It helps that the author is performing his own script, but the electricity between him and Ben Hadfield as Zach is palpable.
Josh Tucker’s direction negotiates the tricky gear changes within the script with confidence and the finale is sad but inevitable. Internalised homophobia will often form the backstory to a gay drama but it’s rare to see it take centre stage and dealt with in such an intuitive fashion.