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The Boys in the Band

“Speaks profoundly”

Mart Crowley’s play may not be the shocking expose of gay social life it was when it premiered in 1968, and occasionally it shows its age, but in lucid moments there’s a timelessness that speaks to today quite profoundly. The way one comes to terms with one’s sexuality hasn’t really changed. Nor have the high levels of depression among gay people.

So the abundant, waspish humour in this tight revival, starring husband and husband team Ian Hallard and Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss, barely veils a sadness in these characters’ lives – a sadness that, too often, still persists today.

In an elegant New York apartment, Michael and friends celebrate Harold’s birthday, becoming increasingly drunk. The nine men at the party run the gamut of campness, from James Holmes’s cutesy Shirley Temple act – he really goes all out on the camp front – to the cool insouciance of Ben Mansfield’s Larry. Then there’s Alan, played by John Hopkins, perfectly cast as the straight man entering this high camp world in black tie with a bassy voice.

Hallard gives a solid central performance as Michael. His smiling eyes and easy charm give way to desperation and desolation as the party takes a sinister turn. Gatiss is a class act as Harold, giving a detailed and observant performance, his sharp eyes always intently studying the other actors.

In one moment, as the characters dance to a song, it’s very easy to believe this is a group of friends who go way back. The second act is a lot less zippy than the first, but this ensemble cast pulls together under Adam Penford’s direction for a fun revival, its levity laced with something more bittersweet.

Find tickets for Boys in the Band on The Stage Tickets

The Boys in the Band is at the Vaudeville Theatre, London, from February 7-18

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Production Details
Production nameThe Boys in the Band
VenuePark 200
StartsSeptember 28, 2016
EndsOctober 30, 2016
Running time2hrs
AuthorMart Crowley
DirectorAdam Penford
Set designerRebecca Brower
Costume designerRebecca Brower
Lighting designerJack Weir
Sound designerJames Nicholson
Casting directorStephen Moore Cdg
CastDaniel Boys, Mark Gatiss, Ben Mansfield, Greg Lockett, Ian Hallard, Jack Derges, James Holmes, John Hopkins, Nathan Nolan, Paul Kendrick
TechnicalRichard Mawbey
Production managerAndreas Ayling
ProducerJames Seabright Jack Maple, King’s Head Theatre, Park Theatre, Tom O’Connell
VerdictClassy performance from Mark Gatiss in a zippy revival of Mart Crowley’s 1968 play
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Tim Bano

Tim Bano

Tim Bano

Tim Bano

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