Tuesday, 30 March 2021

REVIEW: GHBoy at the Charing Cross Theatre (Online)

GHBoy was originally due to play over the Christmas period at the Charing Cross Theatre in London, but sadly due to another wonderful lockdown (I say that with the greatest sarcasm), it had to close on the 16th of December, cutting this wonderful production short. Filming this on 15th the team for GHBoy did a wonderful job getting it all filmed and released this on 1st March to be streamed. So first off a fantastic job getting this together and finding a way to keep this story being told!

Paul Harvard delicately delves into dark topics by writing GHBoy as a response to a chilling true story of the Grindr Killer, who killed four men and raped many more people whilst they were under the influence. It’s not the easiest of topics to address, but without going too dark this production addresses the aftermath that one of this Killer’s rape victims experiences, battling self-sabotage, addiction and hoping he’ll break the cycle of infidelity. 

Jon Pashley has blocked the show really well, and you can see the real detail to each scene and the overall arch, with slick changes and really bringing Harvard’s writing to life. To get the most out of the play, however, you need to watch the backstory and do the research otherwise it can be a little confusing at first. The only other thing that I’d say watching it on screen is that sometimes the subtleties were lost on camera because it was designed to be watched in a theatre, not filmed.

Jimmy Essex excels leading the cast as Robert, giving great emotional depth and subtlety to his performance. He brings the whole show together, and I was completely captivated by his journey. Marc Bosch is excellent as Sergi and has a great on-stage chemistry with Essex’s Robert, bringing out vulnerability and youthful innocence too! A special mention should go to Sylvester Akinrolabu whose multi-rolling was great fun and well-varied!

A shout out has to go to Rona Castrioti with a fantastic detailed sound design, and to Tony Simpson’s subtle but effective lighting design.

Overall I would say this show opens up the stigmas of drug-taking in the LGBT community, and also the discussions of how trauma can affect relationships going forward. I love that it didn’t get too dark but has hope throughout it, and I would say this is definitely a very good theatrical film worth catching!

Review by Adam Yorke

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Online | Price of Ticket: £9.99 for 48-hour rental

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