Extra Virgin is the latest play to be staged in the new, smaller, studio space at Above The Stag in Vauxhall. It also marks the return of the Stag’s Creative Director Peter Bull to the Director’s Chair.
This two handed, one act play by Howard Walters opens with two guys having sex in a fairly noisy manner, that means although the stage is dark, we are under no illusions as to what is happening. Once the deed is done and the lights go on we meet Noah, the skinny twink, whose bedroom we are in, played by James Farley and Elliot, slightly older and hunkier played by Alexander Hulme. The first ten minutes or so of post-coital banter is perfectly light and bland, as it should be following a Grindr hook up.
Things start to take a different twist as Noah begins to ask more intimate questions, he’s keen for something more emotional and wants Elliot to reveal something personal. When that happens, Noah does the same and it suddenly becomes clear there’s more going on here than a simple hook up. Layers of story are unwrapped and secrets revealed in the style of the very best soap stories and indeed Extra Virgin reminds me of a classic Eastenders two hander episode complete with a twist I won’t spoil here. The script is intriguing, the direction clean and unfussy, but not surprisingly it’s the strengths of the two actors, both impressive, that carry this fascinating and twisted tale.
Photos by PBG Studios