Vicky Moran’s new play aims to highlight the growing issue of homelessness among young LGBT+ in the UK. Following interviews with a selection of people who had experienced this first-hand, No Sweat weaves a story about three very different men using a mixture of verbatim text, music and physical theatre.
The protagonists use a gay sauna as a refuge and their conversation uncovers several insalubrious truths. Alf and Tristan have reluctantly turned to sex work, whereas sauna attendant Charlie is seeking asylum following persecution from his parents in Pakistan.
By choosing to focus solely on young gay men, Moran could face criticism from the wider LGBT+ community. Her reasoning becomes clearer when exploring the treatment Tristan receives from an outreach officer. As a cis-gender, drug-free gay man, he is considered less at risk, and is therefore much lower down the ladder in terms of assistance or housing. He is even advised to continue sex-work until his case can be reviewed.
Charlie’s story has the most dramatic impact. It’s less about homelessness and more about the failure by the Home Office to evaluate gay asylum seekers adequately. As Charlie, Manish Gandhi relates a distressing tale of Taliban threats and obscene methods of conversion therapy only to be sent back when he is unable to prove he is gay.
However, despite earnest performances from each actor – and an abundance of steam – there’s an aridity to this production. And while Moran sheds light on the issue, her storytelling lacks focus.