The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me ★★★★ New Wimbledon Theatre | February 3 - 26, 2022


The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me is a coming-of-age story that traces growing self-awareness through self-acceptance, and finally to empowerment. A young, American gay boy awakens to his identity through music. From an early infatuation with West Side Story to a revelation in A Chorus Line, from a naïve attraction to The Village People, to the embracing of the gay icon Bette Midler, this is a tale told mostly via the central character's musical influences. But, it is Larry Kramer's play, The Normal Heart, that is the turning point. Kramer's play which confronts the AIDS crisis leads the young man to true self-awareness and ultimately to a sense of community. David Drake's script parallels this journey as it moves from anecdotal prose to a poetry reminiscent of Allen Ginsberg's declamations. John Bell's interpretation of the part is simply masterful and he has the audience's total attention from beginning to end. From the unquestioning innocence of childhood to the complex emotions of relationships, he creates a character who is both an individual and a symbol of all who have been on his journey. While the AIDS crisis is increasingly seen as a historical event, the play works as an assertion that we must never forget that history. As part of a community there is a responsibility to support the living and keep faith with the dead as we make "a place for us."

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Mark Senior.

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