Boys in The Buff at Stockwell Playhouse: First Night review by Stephen Vowles

From Michelangelo’s David to the hottest male pop star caught unawares by the paparazzi, the male nude today is being scrutinised just as much as the female and Chris Burgess’s musical revue Boys in the Buff deals with the subject as a serious matter. How do we men look at our bodies? Do we perceive ourselves to be too fat or too thin? Are we addicted to diets, obsessed with the gym, toying with the idea of plastic surgery or just fretting self-consciously because we don’t have the perfect complexion we see in magazine adverts or on social media (forgetting that the art of air brushing, Photoshop and applying filters are now integral to how we present ourselves).

The cast of four guys – and one rather scintillating lady, Miss Natalie Harman, who plays Diana – are born troupers applying verve and vigour and such a high level of energy that the numbers come thick and fast. There is a clear influence of Fosse here in the way the numbers are staged and directed by Sam Rayner. The comedy aspect of the show is carefully woven into the proceedings with Shaun Riddick as Richard clearly ‘going for it’ . William Fraser as Dan is also very watchable and he yearns to get his kit off at the earliest opportunity. Adam O ‘Shea as Max deals with the issue of narcissism with great poignancy. Julian Quijano as Phil, who has to overcome his shyness, brings a sincere quality to a role where issues of self-esteem and confidence are also explored.

Boys in the Buff is a whimsical treat which also explores darker issues but at its heart is the firm belief that we are all gorgeous and via the mediums of song, dance and bit of nudity, you can be sure that a riotous evening is on the cards.


Boys in the Buff, the musical runs to the 29th July at Stockwell Playhouse (formerly the Lost Theatre)  208 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 2JU. Box office 020 7622 9208 

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