The MP, Aunty Mandy & Me ★★★★ King's Head Theatre | May 15 - Jun 4, 2023

Society sets arbitrary dates for the definition of being a consenting adult: the age one can vote, the legal drinking age, when one can enlist in the armed forces. Dom (Rob Ward) has met those criteria, but he is still caught between a child-like delight in steam trains and a fascination with a gay culture dominated by insta-gays. He has mastered the vocabulary of the latter, but doesn't really have the acumen to evaluate it. When he meets an older gay man, Dom's small town naïveté is tested in an atmosphere of drugs and alcohol that raises questions about the line between seduction and exploitation. The questions raised are important ones without easy solutions, and Ward has written a challenging piece. However, perhaps because we see events exclusively through Dom's eyes, the complexity of the dilemma is not as rich as it might have been. The other characters in Dom's life remain rather two dimensional. Peter, the MP, who is involved with the young man is a caricature of political hypocrisy and upper-class smugness while Dom's mother, who is supportive of her child, is simply lost in a drug haze. While Rob Ward does a credible job of creating these characters, this is a play that might have benefitted from a full cast which would have established a more multidimensional reality for the other characters and for the situation. That being said, Ward's performance is both moving and convincing, and the issues raised here are problematic, pervasive and compelling.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Pamela Raith.

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