No Sweat at the Pleasance Theatre: Press night review by Stephen Vowles 

Vicky Moran who wrote and also directed her own work instinctively set out to tell a story to highlight the hidden homelessness crisis in this country’s major cities where guys, to put a roof over their heads even if it is for one night, are going to saunas to sleep, get warm, shower and even get paid for sex.

The cast of three – Manish Gandhi as Charlie who works in Flex, the name of the sauna the play is set in, James Haymer as Alf, a self-assured chancer and lastly Denholm Spurr as Tristan, forced out of his family home by his father who would not accept his homosexuality – blend together beautifully and via their own monologues, we get to know about them.  

I did not care for the voiceovers that came before various scenes that detailed stats and offered a political opinion that actually distracted from the graceful and balletic quality of the stage direction which so added to the flow of the play. 

Moran is a good storyteller examining issues of loneliness also forming of friendships, sexual gratification and coming to terms with your own sexuality, persecution, social conditioning and also offers an eye opener to a rather perverse Pakistani remedy to a situation where the Charlie character explains in rather graphic detail that his father made him have sex with his own mother to cure him of his desire for men.

There is a pulse and energy to No Sweat that is impeccable in parts and moving in others and with references also made to the drug culture and the fact that G for example is cheap and easy to get, highlights another factor – that some guys need the release of taking drugs to allow them to be themselves. Moran offers an opinion that saunas serve a purpose and I have to agree wholeheartedly. Extremely atmospheric and informative.


No Sweat runs to Saturday 29 February at the Pleasance Theatre, Carpenters Mews, North Road, London N7 9EF. Box office: 0207 609 1800

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