Ben Fensome
Siberia Productions and Theatre Royal Plymouth
Pleasance Courtyard


Buff is a moving, funny play about a 32-year-old, gay, plus-sized primary school teacher, Nick, sensitively and passionately performed by Dublin-born Pearse Egan in this solo show that tackles body image pressures and online dating.

He has sublet his flat to a buff Instagram model, Jamie, and has fallen for him, but it’s not reciprocated with the arrival of Tim.

His 6-year relationship with his boyfriend has crumbled, and Nick is desperate to find someone on the dating app Grindr.

In a clever, moving series of vignettes, we learn more about Nick’s life: his embarrassing date with a dentist, a child psychiatrist Stan and his experience at the gym where he ogles the super-fit members. You can only feel sympathy for him.

The scenes at school are carefully observed. Nick teaches year 4 and he can’t wait for half-term. When a kid makes a homophobic remark about being gay, he loses control as the pressure pot of his life explodes.

The child’s parents complain and Nick is forced to apologise to the boy and the class by his headteacher who reprimands him. It’s a moment of revelation.

Egan gives a powerful, emotional performance that resonated with many in the audience.

Written by Ben Fensome and directed by Scott Le Crass, this production raises important issues that need to be addressed.

Reviewer: Robin Strapp

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