Kompromat at the Vault Festival: First night review by Stephen Vowles

In Russian culture ‘Kompromat’ is short for ‘Compromising material’ and in David Thame’s beautifully constructed two hander this theme, superbly directed in his own very distinctive style by Peter Darney, is edge of the seat stuff. The two actors, Max Rinehart as Zac and Guy Warren-Thomas as Tom are ideally cast. Giving sleek and very sexy performances as they assert their own individual sense of masculinity which is integral to the play, and based rather shockingly on the true story of GCHQ agent Gareth Williams. Kompromat has at its centre a monologue delivered by Zac which delves into his world of inner conflict, both emotional and physical, touching on themes of sexual roleplay, transvestism, exhibitionism, lustful adoration – and the end result is an ecstatic orgasm where the human body totally surrenders to the release. 

Zac’s direct addresses to the audience create a rather spooky and macabre feel to the play. Also, Thame has cleverly woven into the 60 minute running time two stories, overlapping them by clever use of sound and light effects, that explains where the characters, especially Zac a former high end escort and Tom a person of science, are at in their respective lives. 

This is a super spy saga told with plausible passion and ponders on the fact that we do not know what goes on behind the black, heavy front doors of mansion flats off the Kings Road in Chelsea. Extremely watchable – and where death, deceit, denial and desire are examined in glorious detail.


Kompromat runs to Sunday 3rd February, Brick Hall, The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo SE1 7NN. Tickets via

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