F*cking Men

Joe DiPietro

Kings Head Theatre

Assembly George Square Studios

From 04 August 2016 to 29 August 2016

Rating: ****

Review by Liam Blain

With a ballsy title, one would expect a ballsy play and Joe DiPietro’s F*cking Men certainly does not disappoint.

F*cking Men brings Grindr to life through ten interlinking duologues, allowing the audience to scrutinise and examine the lives, loves and losses of gay men in 2016.

We meet husbands who have boyfriends, film stars who have secrets and students who have hidden agendas. With only three cast members to pull off this celebration of sexuality, Haydn Whiteside, Harper James and Richard de Lisle do a superb job in making sure the piece is fast-paced and fun (just as all Grindr hook-ups should be).

Based on Arthur Schnitzler’s classic play La Ronde, F*cking Men scrutinises the role of monogamy and connection within gay relationships through a series of sexual encounters. The army lad hooks up with the married man, the married man makes love to his husband, the husband gets off with his pupil and, just as the schoolboy zips up his flies, the next fling is waiting on the wings to continue this sordid chain reaction.

The show itself is well directed by Mark Barford using a minimal set to maximum effect. Superb use of lighting and slow motion leaves enough to the audience’s imagination, ensuring the show is both raunchy and legal at 4PM in the afternoon. Of the three actors, De Lisle’s journey through the play from the rugged alpha male to the camp and clichéd writer must be applauded. However, all three men are certainly the heart and soul of this provocative production.

This piece raises more eyebrows than controversial new ideas but is certainly written with good intent. DiPietro wants to lift the lid on the reality of gay culture and in doing so creates a hot and steamy production that will make audiences of any persuasion sit back and take note.

F*cking Men may not be the show for everyone but, for the curious few, it will certainly reveal the world in a whole new light.