The Steam Industry
King's Head Theatre, Islington
Fucking Men is not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but for those who like their tea served by attractive gay men, it will go down very well.
After a run at the Finborough in 2008, Fucking Men is back in London at The King's Head and if the enthusiastic audience is anything to go by, I'd say Soho has a bit of competition on its hands.
Ten gay men, from different walks of life, fall in love, fall out of love, connect and disconnect. Each have their own idea of what constitutes happiness and for some it works out, whilst others are still left searching. Sounds like real life, which is what writer Joe DiPietro sets out to achieve. Almost a reaction to the customary safe depiction of gay lifestyle portrayed on TV and theatre today, DiPietro wants to set the record straight. Not all gay men want to achieve the heterosexual ideal of a monogamous relationship. This may be somewhat disconcerting for those who don't want to consider the promiscuous nature of some gay men; but as I said, this play won't be for everyone.
At a first glance one may think some of the characters in Fucking Men are nothing more than stereotypes; the closeted movie star, the ridiculously camp college boy or the confident escort. Yet, whilst stereotypical on the surface, these characters have a heart and truth to them as they all struggle with various inner demons.
The escort John (Shai Matheson) who falls in love with Steve (Matthew Clancy) the tough army guy; who's not gay; he just likes having sex with men. Leo (Timothy Lone) and Jack (Morgan James) who have been together for over ten years and love each other but continue to lie to each other as well as to themselves and of course the young idealistic porn star, Ryan (Adam Unze) who could have anyone and yet has fallen for "married" Jack. These stories are funny, touching and sad and are bought to life by a very strong ensemble. Dan Ford in particular is hilarious as the insecure writer Sammy who pours all his personal neurosis into his work.
The majority of the play provides a fascinating insight into the lives of gay males and an interesting reflection for those who are already familiar with this world. However towards the end it starts to feel a little like a "message" play as it hammers home the idea that everybody should be free to live their life however they feel fit. Despite this small criticism, Fucking Men is brave and audacious and of course sex is a predominant theme, but it's smarter than that. It doesn't shy away from the truth and while certain ideas may be a little hard for some to swallow (no pun intended), we are definitely ready to hear the facts about f**king men.
Running to 25th January
Reviewer: Rachel Sheridan