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Review: Alright Bitches!, Above The Stag

This play washes down well with any cocktail with body parts in its name and it is a delightful piece for theatre goers looking for a casual, not too crazy night out. The story is supposed to be fun, trashy, and over the top, and it hit all these spots. Right off the bat, the audience is introduced to Garth and Max, played by Daniel Breakwell and Josiah Eloi, respectively. These two are a source of endless double entendre and sexual innuendos. They are joined by their best friend Pam, played by Jackie Pulford. Pam’s a middle-aged woman who…

Summary

Rating

Good

A delightful night out with over the top camp and endless double entendre.

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This play washes down well with any cocktail with body parts in its name and it is a delightful piece for theatre goers looking for a casual, not too crazy night out. The story is supposed to be fun, trashy, and over the top, and it hit all these spots.

Right off the bat, the audience is introduced to Garth and Max, played by Daniel Breakwell and Josiah Eloi, respectively. These two are a source of endless double entendre and sexual innuendos. They are joined by their best friend Pam, played by Jackie Pulford. Pam’s a middle-aged woman who has yet to find the man of her dreams and is just on a mission to enjoy herself until somebody comes along. The trio are joined by Jason and Ollie (Wilson Armour and Marcus J Foreman), a couple celebrating their first anniversary.

The characters of this show can be placed on a spectrum of outward gayness. On one extreme, we have Garth. He is openly gay, a seeker of hook-ups, and frequenter of “dark rooms”. On the opposite pole, we have Jason, a reserved gay with his sexuality only known to a few individuals. While Max portrays himself as somebody like Garth, it is clear he is not and that he has a secret crush on him. Ollie is a young man who is open with his sexuality, but not particularly bothered by the gay scene, instead perfectly content in his relationship with Jason. It wasn’t immediately clear what Pam’s role is in all this, except comic relief. However, as the story progresses, Pam becomes the voice of reason and a facilitator to draw out each character’s hidden feelings. Pulford and Eloi’s performances were absolutely exceptional and can be considered as the highlights of the show.

The story touched upon a lot of potentially deep and interesting subplots, all of which could form the foundation of a separate spin off. However, none of these were even remotely explored further. For example, how long has Max had a crush on Garth, why is he suddenly moving out of Garth’s place, what is going on with Jason’s alcohol addiction, and who is Pam’s fling, Paolo.

There was some  great use of karaoke to set the moods, including classics from Britney Spears and Celine Dion. Somewhat unexpected, Eloi gave a very strong karaoke performance, way better than the average Joe you’ll find in karaoke bars. However, given the timing of the music in the show, it wasn’t clear why the volume was set so low. I would have preferred the volume to be cranked all the way up to blow the roof off and get the audience hyped up.

The play did portray a very stereotypical image of what a gay person is like, their lifestyle, and the type of friends they have. While I appreciate the choices made were deliberate and I fully embrace the fact that the audience are not meant to take this seriously, I can imagine some people may find this offensive. But that aside, this is an entertaining show, full of innuendos, and could be especially fun if you are accompanied by a hyped and rowdy companion. 

Written by: Martin Blackburn
Directed by: Bryan Hodgson
Produced by: Andy Hill and John Owen

Alright Bitches! plays at Above The Stag until 4 June. Further information and bookings can be found here.

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Holler Box