Martin Sherman’s delightful, elegant, charming and stunning play is a masterclass in how to grab an audience’s attention and demonstrates with such an accuracy the intricacy of human emotions and what happens when you allow things to happen.
Gently Down The Stream is a play about the attraction of a younger man to an older, wiser man in a relationship that benefits them both. There is a sexual, physical and an emotional connection between them and this is more than a gentle flow down the stream but a full on flood; a deluge on the senses that is just magnificent to watch.
Sherman is a wonderful wordsmith of extraordinary skill; creating lines spoken by Jonathan Hyde – making a rare London performance as Beau – as “I’m old enough to be your ancestor”. The formidable talent shown by Hyde and his two co-stars, Ben Allen as Rufus and Harry Lawtey as Harry, made for an exquisite night at the theatre.
This play has a heart and soul to it and it is clear that Sherman has included in this sensational play relationships and events that have mattered to him in his life. He also does not shy away from the serious aspects of being gay. Homophobia, the AIDS crisis, that gay men do have the tendency for self destruction and showing contempt for others, but he also puts a positive spin on this. Gay men’s self hatred makes for good literature. This is also observational, up beat theatre, funny and enchanting, brought to life by director Sean Mathias who is so in sync with the author and the actors that the partnership they have created in this production is beautiful, delicate and graceful. Gently Down The Stream is extremely moving. It is gorgeous and vibrant. A wonderful look at how generations inevitably intertwine. I loved it.
Photos by Marc Brenner