F**CKING MEN, Assembly Hall, Edinburgh.
Direct from a sold out (much extended run) at London’s Kings Head Theatre F**king Men makes its debut at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Writer Joe Di Pietro’s startling play is not, as the title would suggest, a bawdy sex comedy, but instead a meditation on gay relationships of all forms, interwoven and explored through a series of different encounters. Throughout the course of the 70 minute show we see a series of 10 duologues, beginning with a closeted army boy and a gay escort. We are then taken on a journey through gay saunas, seedy hotel rooms and luxury flats, meeting along the way a bisexual university student, a HIV positive business man and a closeted movie star, among an array of vivid and interesting characters performed with aplomb by a three strong cast.
Each conversation offers its own unique viewpoint on modern gay relationships, and while occasionally leaning into stereotype, there are some astute observations and sizzling dialogue. Over time we begin to see the wounds that are often hidden deep underneath the usual sexuality of gay relationships. All three actors are impressive and switch accents and physicality often at an alarming rate, Harper James particularly impresses in a multitude of roles including the closeted soldier and as a under-confident and confused partner in a one-sided open relationship. This is a cast that give it their all (particularly in some tasteful full frontal nude scenes) and this is a play that deserves to be seen.
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By Rory Maxwell
3rd – 29th August 2016
Assembly Rooms, George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LH.