Sunday, 30 July 2017

Review Coming Clean

A brittle comedy drama revealing the cracks in a seemingly stable relationship provides a funny and wistful evening for Peter Barker.

Coming Clean
by Kevin Elyot

The Love Knot

Long-standing gay couple Tony and Greg are celebrating their fifth anniversary in a Kentish Town flat.

Greg is a worldly, acerbic academic, while would-be writer Tony and unattached serial cruiser friend William enjoy partying.

Tony and Greg have an open relationship, tolerant of each other's one-night stands, but the two men still remain serious about and committed to each other 

That's until the arrival into their domestic milieu of buff young "resting" actor Robert whom they hire to clean their flat. Finally Tony begins to realise that he might want something more out of his relationship with Greg.

Coming Clean was first put on in 1982 at the Bush Theatre, the debut play of the late playwright and actor Kevin Elyot .

This was 12 years before the playwright's most successful play My Night With Reg brought him to playwriting prominence..

The earlier play asks, in the era before AIDS but after 1967 decriminalisation of private homosexual acts,  when does an open relationship cross the line into infidelity?

Now this thought-provoking and touching play has been revived at Islington's King's Head.

Jason Nwoga is the college lecturer, Greg, Lee Knight is his partner Tony who finds their relationship severely tested, Tony Lambert the domestic help of the love triangle and Elliot Hadley is comically engaging as William.

The plot, issues and humour of Coming Clean have worn well and it remains a witty and insightful look into the nature of relationships, love, loss and betrayal with believable characters.

Adam Spreadbury-Maher has assembled an excellent cast on the detailed set designed by Amanda Mascarenhas.- a Kentish Town flat of the early 1980s complete with sofa, hi-fi, kitchenette, Lady Di tea caddy and Mozart records.

Elyot, who came from Birmingham and was a former choir boy,  originally called the play Cosy after the Viennese composer's Cosi Fan Tutte.

Spreadbury-Maher's direction is assured and sympathetic. Even though the drama includes darker issues, bitterness and recrimination, the play and performances remain funny, warm and natural and part of a green light production.

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