Deeper and Deeper
written and directed by Tim McArthur
with Scott Afton, Stewart Briggs, Dickon Farmar, Robert Hook, Hari Kanabar
produced by Above the Stag
lighting Vittorio Verta
costumes Michelle Taylor Knight
Union Theatre, Southwark • 13-17.Sep.23
|Kanabar and Hook|
It opens with a first meeting in a Camden flat in 1997, as Andrew (Farmar) is looking to rent a room with a group of younger guys. He's welcomed by Simon (Afton), an eager and very naive kid only recently arrived in London from Cornwall. Then the sexy Joe (Hook) turns up, flirting shamelessly and then some. The fourth tenant is the cheerful owner Paul (Briggs). And over the years, these four get very drunk together and expose their thoughts and feelings about a range of issues relating to gay life in Britain. A new boyfriend arrives with French twink Louis (Kanabar), relationships come and go, and revelations continually shake their trust in each other.
|Afton and Farmar|
Performances are strong on the whole. Aside from one miscast role, the actors find clever ways to mix sexual posturing with bristly sarcasm while continually revealing underlying emotions. Hook and Kanabar have the most engaging presence on-stage, creating a strikingly realistic bond together. Their roles are more naturalistic than the others, so they're easier to identify with. Hook is remarkably good at holding audience sympathy even as Joe is vilified for his promiscuity and deception. All of them nicely convey the way these men change over the decades.
|Briggs with Hook & Kanabar|
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photos by PGBStudios • 13.Sep.23