When in Soho watching a play about drugs, sexuality and serial killers just feels right. Alexis Gregory’s script takes an uncomfortable glance at our obsession with serial killers, sexual violence and 21st century homosexuality. Transfering from The Glory in East London Sex/Crime is an unashamed look
As A Jonny Woo offers a service reenacting recent murders of young men on paying customers. Tonight’s client is B played by Gregory, a lonely man looking for an escape through being violently murdered.In this melodrama Woo’s calm, collected but angry A contrasts well with Gregory’s camp, loud and hyper performance fuelled by violence (done well with a red warning light before a loud noise of a kick or punch) with darkness (emotionally and literally) dominating Robert Chevara’s direction with the suggestion that the being a man who sleeps with men can be a lonely place seeking validation through relationships heterosexuals approve of but juggling a world of apps and polyamory.
It is also a lot of fun, true crime ghouls may find it lack in the promised serial killer stories as Gregory focuses on the fine line between pain and love rather than your favourite mass murderer. It tries, and mostly succeeds, in finding the depth to being older and LGBT+ in modern Britain in this smart and funny two hander.
Sex/Crime is on until 1 February 2020 https://sohotheatre.com/shows/sex-crime/
One response to “Sex/Crime, Soho Theatre”
Jonny Woo’s star turn as “A” was such a delight. Woo has done little straight theatre of late but the skill he handled and finessed the dialogue with was really commendable. Layered nuanced restrained and wonderfully done.
The writing of “B”s character and its delivery left something to be desired.
Though it seems evident at first glance ‘B’ was fusing the arguable depiction of a queer underworld from “Cruising” with 70s sitcom camp, things never moved much further. The character seemed to be a commentary on dysfunctional communication within communities, the role drugs play in suspending engagement with reality and those who navigate their 30-40ies in this manner, but was overblown and overstated. It’s one thing to portray a character who embodies elements of caricature and emotional dissociation, but it’s another when two hours in the theatre gives no more nuance from a character than that. The character never moved beyond the affected delivery of the lines and what could have given way to depth and tenderness felt like a self-indulgent exercise in performance time.
When so few London venues offer clear precedence to queer theatre in the way Soho Theatre did, surely audiences deserve more nuanced interpretations of LGBT stories and the texts which depict them.
Credit is due to the creative team who transformed the Soho Theatre into the oppressively ominous grungy space the play was performed in – it was electrifying.