The Boys in the Band Review

First performed in in 1968, Mart Crowley’s ‘The Boys in the Band’ has been revived once again, featuring appearances from the likes of Mark Gatiss, Ian Hallard, and James Holmes.
Described by James Holmes as “gays in a room”, the play revolves around a group of gay friends in New York, who meet up to celebrate Harold’s (played by Mark Gatiss) fortysomething birthday. Organised by Michael (Ian Hallard), the birthday party commences, but comedy quickly deteriorates as alcohol is drunk and weed is smoked, leading to, what can only be described as, despair (but let’s face it, we’ve all been there before). 

Characters are drip-fed onto stage throughout Act 1, and as each of them enters, their clear independence is displayed, as you would expect from a group of friends. They interact well with each other, but without losing who they truly are, which certainly helped to create one of the most realistic pieces of theater that I haves seen to date.

On top of this, there are clearly character clashes, whether this be due to smaller personality traits, such as characters like Emory (James Holmes), who is very open about his sexuality and flamboyant, compared to Alan (John Hopkins) who is the typically reserved gentleman of the time, or the aspect of religion between Michael and Harold. The clashes add both humor and heart break, but again, creates the façade that you are genuinely watching a group of friends as events unfold.
The set remained the same throughout, which is something I always appreciate and was well used by all cast members. For most of the show, they all remained on stage too, and completely used the space, as well as stay in character – especially Greg Lockett (playing Bernard) and Jack Derges (playing the Cowboy), who still managed to draw my attention to their performances, even when they were just in the background.    

All of the cast suited their roles and really bought the script to life. Exploring themes such as self-acceptance, anxiety, and addiction within the LGBT+ community, the show is still heavily relatable to this day.  I feel like the play itself is truly one of the best I’ve seen, and that the characters created by writer Mart Crowley are strong and colorful enough to not need an expensive collection of sets or massive cast.

This is one to certainly be seen again, and again. 

If you also want to see a bit more on my trip up to Brighton, chack out the Vlog here


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