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Thursday, 17 February 2022

REVIEW: Tell Me Straight at The Chiswick Playhouse

The social issues of the present have got human beings questioning their own identities more than ever; sexuality, mental health and internalised prejudice being a very small portion of these topics.

‘Tell me straight’ is a powerful piece of new writing by Paul Bradshaw, which dynamically explores these ideas, and that prejudice and homophobia are inheritably internalised within us all. After being performed in various small theatres around London, director Imogen Francis has brought this coming of age piece back on its feet in an immersive yet uncomplicated way. 

The writer, Paul Bradshaw, also plays the central character of the play, known as ‘he’ (as we never find out his real name). This character embodies a millennial gay man who is trying to break his self-destructive cycle by adopting a 30-day detox from sex, fast food and alcohol to gain a new and healthier perspective of life. His newly found sobriety forces him to become more self-aware and examine his relationships with dating, sex, his friends, and his own self-respect. As an audience, we quickly become aware that this character has a certain soft spot for men who identify as straight; the ‘forbidden fruit. These male characters are multi-roled by actor George Greenland. It becomes apparent that these men are struggling with their identities; using him as a scapegoat to figure out their own sexuality Throughout the piece, we meet men who constantly disappoint the central character, leaving him to question his own identity, strengths, and why these other men are not ready to commit and confront their sexualities.

Friday, 20 August 2021

REVIEW: Tell Me Straight at the King's Head Theatre

Tell me Straight is an original new play championing queer and working-class voices making their mark on the independent theatre scene produced by Gartland Productions and as part of the Kings Head Theatre queer season. Written by Paul Bradshaw and directed by Imogen Hudson-Clayton, together with the rest of the team they have produced a charming piece of theatre that will speak to a generation of LGBTQ people in London navigating hookup culture, getting older and sexuality.

Writer, Bradshaw, also stars in this work, he plays a millennial gay man determined to find some new perspective in his life. He decides the only way to do this is by putting himself on a self mandated 30-day detox from sex, booze and fast food. This attempt at a sober existence forces him to examine his work life, past relationships and to confront the prospect of new ones. It becomes quickly evident, in regards to his love life, that he has a type, ‘straight’ men working out their own identity. Alongside Bradshaw is George Greenland who takes on a multi charter role to represent these past and present flames. As the story unfolds, tales of optimism and romance are met by constant disappointment and this man willing to put himself on the line in the name of love, is forced to question why he finds himself as a sort of testing ground for these other men who are not yet ready to fully confront their own sexuality.
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