Trafalgar Studios – until 1 February 2020
Review by Elizabeth J Smith
Coming Clean is a play about relationships, friendship, love, betrayal and sex. Set in the early 80’s before the Aids epidemic struck. A time when it seemed every gay man could have his cake and eat it, as much and as often as he liked, with no consequence or is there?
We follow Tony, an aspiring writer who doesn’t write much, and Greg, a successful American writer, as they celebrate their 5 year anniversary. They have an open relationship and their commitment to each other is to only sleep with any other man once and never at their home.
They live in a squalid flat where Tony is expected to play housewife and resents this assumption as it stops him from writing. While Greg is away on business Tony visits the disco’s of London with his neighbour William enjoying all sorts of one night stands. Tony decides to employ a cleaner and we see the arrival of Robert. Robert is an out of work actor making ends meet by cleaning houses and cooking on the side. His arrival seems to unbalance the equilibrium of Tony and Gregs polyamorous relationship.
A big congratulations to Elliot Hadley and his portrayal of William the neighbour. His mannerisms and facial expressions were extremely funny, as well as tear evoking in the after attack scene. Then again brought tears of laughter for his German gay man who typified the 80’s gay scene to me.
Jonah Rzeskiewicz, played timid Robert superbly. With his self doubt shinning through from his entrance but growing in confidence as the piece expands the story.
Lee Knight, Tony, gave a very emotional performance of a man who really just wants “married bliss” but goes down the sharing road to keep his man.
Stanton Plummer-Cambridge, Greg, showed us how a successful gay man could impose his will on others who he saw as slightly less in their standing.
Some may say this play was dated but I believe it showed the similarities between all relationships whether gay or straight, now or then. How sacrifices are quite often made by one partner to please and appease the other. How we are all in search of a place to be safe, loved, liked and cared for.
With laughter, tears and a little nudity a thoroughly enjoyable insight into the gay world.