Boom Bang-A-Bang is the 1995 play by Jonathan Harvey described as the ‘Eurovision comedy’. In fact this sparkling, witty piece isn’t really about the mega popular TV cheese-fest at all, it’s a well observed comedy about the politics of sexuality and the blurred lines of relationships.
The Eurovision tag is actually a clever framing device. The action takes place at Lee’s flat in 1995 where a group of friends have gathered to watch the song contest on TV. This annual gathering takes place following Lee’s boyfriend’s sudden death from a brain tumour and much of the play deals with how different friends cope with this. There’s a darker shadow here too as many of the couple’s friends have boycotted the party because they think he died of AIDS, reminding us that it wasn’t that long ago there were genuine fears of catching it from cups etc. There may be sad themes here and relationships are tested to breaking point, but this is a fast paced, laugh out loud comedy masterpiece with much of the outrageous wit we would later see in Gimme Gimme Gimme on show here.
The ensemble cast are all impressive, with especially strong comedy turns from Christopher Lane as Steph, who flips between camp monster and fragile friend and back again and Joshua Coley hilarious as the creepy neighbour Norman. At the heart of the play is a lovely performance by Adam McCoy who brings genuine warmth and pathos to the character of Lee. Boom Bang-A-Bang is hilarious and moving in equal measure, with Jonathan Harvey’s sizzling script matched perfectly by Andrew Beckett’s snappy, well paced direction. Douze points.