Open at the Vault Festival: Review by Stephen Vowles

Written and performed by real life couple Christopher Adams and Tim Allsop, Open examines a lot of issues that are intrinsic in making a gay relationship work. When rules are agreeable to both parties, and also adhered to, and can make for a stronger bond. This is from the start a very personal piece and director Will Maynard gets both Adams and Allsop to deliver honest performances that are both sincere, slightly unnerving but also totally believable. 

The play asks ’Is monogamy old fashioned?’ and as gay men is the need for the chase paramount for survival? Are morals important, even if the lack of them may result in self destruction? Maynard also incorporates into the way this piece is executed, audience participation where both Adams and Allsop give members of the audience a microphone and ask them to read out loud excerpts from a script that explains certain emotions and events that will or have affected them as a couple. I found this slightly disconcerting and actually unnecessary as both of them were more than capable of putting their feelings over. 

Open is very good and reinforces the fact that, if unchecked, it is a tangle web we can weave. There is a very clever use of props, cardboard boxes of various shapes and sizes that act as metaphors. Do we put ourselves in a box, compartmentalising ourselves, frightened to think outside of the box? As each scene played out a written word was put on a washing line as if they were airing their woes in public. Very creative and poignant. When one of them, because of their mutual promiscuity, gets an STI the decision to go to the clinic is immediate with one of them, and hesitant in the other. This for me sent a slight shiver down my spine. They had agreed to live by certain rules but were both immediately guilty of changing them when either of them were not comfortable. They each wanted to be in control and their mutual respect for each other had to remain intact. Very interesting as a comment on 21st century gay living. A thought-provoking performance and certainly worth a view. 


Open at the Vault Festival runs to Sunday 27th January at Cage, The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo SE1 7NN. Tickets from 

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