Gay men have never had to conform to a heteronormative relationship standards in the past. But now we live in a world where they can marry and raise a family, can they adapt?
Having been together for seven years, Pete and Rafe decide on a very logical solution to their monogamy issue.
Four Play by Jake Brunger – better known as one half of a musical-theatre writing duo with Pippa Cleary, with whom he created the recent West End hit The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ – was originally commissioned by the Old Vic as part of its New Voices initiative in 2014.
It’s a tightly-structured, intelligent play that veers from laugh-out-loud comedy to thoughtful drama with real skill. Like the plays of Alan Ayckbourn and Torben Betts, it uses class and culture as the foundations for much of the comedy. This is reflected in both Carrie-Ann Stein’s smart, whitewashed kitchen set design and Matthew Iliffe’s equally assured direction.
Iliffe’s production is blessed with a cast that seems to pick up the cadences and rhythm of Brunger’s comedy instinctively. Ashley Byam plays the anxious, accommodating Rafe, a performance that contrasts nicely with Keeran Blessie’s confident, furtive Pete.
The anguish of their inability to communicate with one another drives the play to its inevitable conclusion. It’s down to Marc Mackinnon, as fourth-wheel Andrew, to cut through the bullshit of their relationship, and underline the play’s message about being honest to yourself when it comes to matters of the heart.