Sunday, 12 June 2016

Review: This Much (or an act of Violence Towards the Institution of Marriage), Soho Theatre

"Put it away, someone might see!"

What does marriage equality really mean for gay relationships? A chance to just be like straight people, to perhaps repeat the patterns of our parents, or something more, something different. This tension is where John Fitzpatrick locates his play This Much (or an act of Violence Towards the Institution of Marriage), seen in Edinburgh last summer and now making its bow in the Soho Theatre's upstairs space.

And it's Gar doesn't know what he wants - living with his partner Anthony who keeps dropping hints about how many kids he wants (4) and how nice it would be to get hitched, and conducting a fling with online hook-up Albert who's more interested in the most daring place he can flash his cock. Caught between the two men, the stability of one and the sexual excitement of the other, Gar is forced to confront what he really wants from life.

Fitzgerald's musings on commitment are interestingly drawn and impressively realised by a trio of characters who are admirably rough-edged. Lewis Hart's Gar is complex and spiky, Simon Carroll-Jones' highly-strung Anthony is clearly a damaged soul, and Will Alexander's Albert is full of all the cockiness of (comparative) youth. And freed from any notions of being, or becoming, particularly likable, there's a pleasing sense that the shackles of 'representation' have been cast off.

What we get in Kate Sagovsky's assured production is thus just a picture of the messiness and mundanity of life, the uneventful nature of domesticated coupledom, the thrill of shagging after stealing a pack of ginger nuts from the corner shop, the incompatibility of these two lives. Alex Berry's set design allows a clever playfulness into the space and the physicality of the movement that punctuates the scenes never lets you forget how deeply felt all these swirling emotions are.

Running time: 70 minutes (without interval)
Photos: Pavel D
Booking until 2nd July
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