Undetectable at the King’s Head Theatre: Press night review by Stephen Vowles

When I first saw Tom Wright’s play Undetectable back in March last year when it was receiving its world premiere I immediately felt I was watching something special and garnished it with 5 stars and offered rapturous praise to all concerned.

This sentiment still rings true almost a year on. With actors Lewis Brown as Bradley and Freddie Hogan as Lex both reprising their roles and director and designer Rikki Beadle-Blair firmly at the helm, the whole thing is a poignant joy from start to finish. 

This is a very powerful play and should be seen by as many as possible regardless of sexual orientation or gender as Wright transverses these elements with a knock out punch that hits right at the heart of the effect of feeling certain emotions.

The synergy between Brown and Hogan has intensified dramatically as both have clearly and firmly sunk their teeth into performing these parts with an intensity that is sensational and extremely sexy.

Wright looks at the apprehension of being intimate which can lead to discomfort, the way his characters deal with anxiety, understanding core values and that trust has to be earned. There is a particularly moving scene about PrEP with Wright giving a suggestion that by using it people need not to be scared – a very timely comment.

This is an astounding two hander that has matured and still maintains a premise that being yourself, and the power that comes with that, is paramount in today’s world. Cutting edge theatre and a well deserved revival. Intense stuff indeed.

Now with  an expanded text from the original production it is also very clear that Wright has made the play ahead of the curve in its ideas; the world has caught up and it’s bang on the moment. The play echoes my own opinion that I am becoming increasingly tired with talking about chemsex issues and that gay men are on a path to self destruction. This is not true. Undetectable is a pertinent piece of theatre for 2020.


Undetectable runs to Saturday 7th March at the King’s Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QN. Box office: 020 7226 8561 

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