David Hoyle’s Diamond at the Soho Theatre: Review by Stephen Vowles

There is no doubt that David Hoyle is a passionate and sometimes angry performer. He is prepared to rant and rave with an energy that is almost spiritual, can be sexual and is at turns provocative, profound and unashamedly decadent. Diamond is his comment on society and a personal biography which starts with him as a young child in Blackpool. These informative years were shaped by his love of glamorous things mixed with a stern religious upbringing where he was told: “God is watching you”. The name of the show Diamond marks the 60 years from 1957 to this year and includes references to landmark events in that time, such as 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality. He mixes this with stories from his own life including working for British Home Stores that is relayed with an affection that is both comical and sincere. We learn that he realised there was a better life out there and he packed his bags and journeyed to London to seek fame and fortune.

He talks frankly about HIV and AIDS with a touch of high melodrama that is actually very important and puts his point across with a beautiful eloquence. During the show David is supported by cabaret troupe The LipSinkers who enable him to change costume to one of diaphanous silks which he proudly tells the audience he purchased for only £1.50 in his local charity shop.  He finished his hour of frantic entertainment with the message that we are all important and special before a fitting finale where large balloons were tossed into the crowd to play with. David Hoyle may be ready to storm the barricades and bring down the Establishment but he is also a unique and sensational artist.

Diamond with David Hoyle is at the Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street London W1. Box office: 020 7478 0100.

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