5 Guys Chillin’ at The Kings Head Theatre, runs until 3 June
Revisiting Peter Darney’s 5 Guys Chillin’ reminds us what a thought provoking and at times ‘out to shock’ play it is. With scenes of ‘slamming’ intravenous drug use and forced penetration, Darney tells the story of five guys that meet up at J’s house, played by David Palmstrom, to take drugs and have sex. Along the way there are revelations about promiscuity, whether one should reveal their HIV status, sexual confusion and being on the road to self destruction that was proving difficult to escape from.
This time around what is immediately interesting is there is a freshness to the piece that is undoubtedly due the casting especially George Fletcher as M and a very skilful portrayal of R by Tom Ratcliffe, who added charisma and flair to the role. Gareth Watkins as B and George Bull as PJ are also key to the success of this play. And the pace of the play is driven by the use of hard house, bordering almost on trance music.
This is crude, rude, raunchy and saucy – an intriguing look at sexual etiquette required to attend a chill out and also a wonderful exploration of the human gay male mind and use of predatory body language. SV
5 Guys Chillin’ runs until 3 June at the Kings Head Theatre, 115 Upper St, London, N1 1QN. Book via 020 7226 8561 or kingsheadtheatre.com.
Judy at The Arts Theatre, until 17 June
A reworked show can sometimes fail because why should a show be reworked if it was good in the first place? But Ray Packham’s Judy has been reworked and it has gone from good to exceptional. Stunning, exuberant, an odyssey to Garland the star and legend, this is simply superb. The three actresses – Helen Sheals as CBS Judy, Belinda Wollaston as Palace Judy and a magnificent Lucy Penrose as Young Judy – all possess powerhouse vocals that complemented the original singing style of Garland.
Told via the clever use of flashback, overlapping action and the use of the Garland songbook as plot devices, this is a very special theatrical treat. This life story is beautifully told and deserves to be smash hit and run longer than the time it has booked at the Arts Theatre. A must see! SV
Judy runs until 17 June at the Arts Theatre, 6-7 Great Newport Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 7JB. Book via the box office on 020 7836 8463.
Kings Cross Remix at Camden People’s Theatre, until 27 May
Tom Marshman’s one-man show Kings Cross Remix is his comment on the 1980s and by using a group of characters we get an insight into a decade where he shares very sincere comments on the political situation and AIDS awareness. In places this does come across slightly as a self indulgent monologue but in others he raises a smile where comedy tinged with tragedy gets his views across. This is a history lesson here, and Marshman’s moody and extremely atmospheric delivery also acts as an eye opener to a decade that has fond memories for some and painful ones for others. SV
Kings Cross Remix runs until Saturday (27 May) at the Camden People’s Theatre, 58-60 Hampstead Road, NW1 2PY (cptheatre.co.uk).