4-⭐ · Fringe Reviews 2018 · Reviews · Theatre Reviews

REVIEW: ‘Gayface’ by Seeing Other People Productions

4 Stars

(Performed in August 2018 – Review published in November 2018)

A charming, slightly odd, but very honest show that hit straight on the head the ‘gayface’ phenomenon of straight actors portraying gay parts; not always a problematic thing in and of itself but one that often results in and demonstrates a lot of wider underlying problems. The show tackled that subject matter with grace, humour and pretty impressive acting. 

It was also very well written on Chet Wilson’s part. We all love a good comic farce with a  web-of-lies plot, and this play was just that. One little lie leading to more lies to sustain the original and ending up in a huge panicked hilarious mess. The writing was touching, and pulled no punches, but was also packed with laughs, it used hyperbolic characters to great effect and enjoyed a talented cast to bring those characters into being in all their larger-than-life glory. 

Wilson, in the main role of Hal, was an extremely powerful actor, heart-touching as well as giggle-worthy wherever he needed to be. Amity Hanson was fun to watch but had a little trouble differentiating her two characters, Ellen and Carmen. There was a definite distinction but not quite enough to separate the two performances as much as they needed. Ethan Beck Cockrill dove into his role as Jason with gusto and revelled in the obnoxious hilarity of his part, especially during Jason’s beautifully atrocious interpretations of what a gay character should look and sound like. London Bauman rounded things off nicely as the sanest, most reasonable member of the cast, whilst simultaneously playing the most unhinged in another scene.  

There were moments where it dragged a little but only a few and some story decisions should maybe have been reconsidered, but on the whole this was a strong, funny, and bittersweet production with important things to say. From the emotional and wrenching speech at its open, there was a lot to love about this play right up to the big (well not all that big) reveal at its close. 

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