Within the first few minutes of Kids Play, you think you’ve got the premise pretty much tied up. Booted and suited, Greg is playing away from home at a hotel in Brighton and he’s hired rent boy Theo for the night. But of course this is a play by Taggart creator Glenn Chandler and there’s bound to be more to this assignation than meets the eye. In fact, Chandler has crafted a poignant, multi-layered story that touches on themes of intimacy, honesty and redemption.
Both Greg and Theo are looking for answers in the wrong places and fate throws them together through an adult services advert. Initially both are abrasive characters, presenting a front to cover the pain they have suffered in the past. Chandler’s gift for light, naturalistic dialogue is tinged with moments of wry humour that masks the loneliness each of them face.
It all ties up a little too neatly perhaps, but the play features some genuinely moving dialogue and a few surprises along the way. Integral to Kids Play’s success is casting, and Gareth Watkins as Greg and Clement Charles as Theo have an easy chemistry. Greg has the most complex journey here and Watkins hits each emotional milestone with sensitivity and understanding.