Lambert’s tart, atmospheric and very funny play
has a touch of the Russian dolls about it.
surface theme is 1968’s Theatres Act, which abolished
censorship in British theatre. Soon enough, though,
layers of supplementary meanings emerge.
’68: toast-of-the-town director John (Alan Coveney)
is rehearsing – with the blessing of the recent
Act – a new play featuring a gay kiss. Is this
an intoxicating new freedom, though, or merely a different
type of shackle?
(Oliver Millingham) is the cocky, headstrong tyro actor
for whom the kiss crystallises everything that ’68
– that heady year of rebellion, creative expression
and youth culture – has achieved. But, we soon
learn, The Kiss means more for him than mere politics.
Enter Diane (Dee Sadler), the play’s (seemingly)
ruthless producer, who decrees that, Act or no Act,
there’s to be no kiss: British theatregoers aren’t
yet ready for this stuff.
unfurls is a fascinating network of fear, risk, professional
jealousy, intergenerational rivalry and latent sexuality.
three actors captivate, with Sadler and Coveney showing
a splendid chemistry as a comfortable theatrical ‘couple’
built on unspoken master/servant dynamics; Millingham’s
long-haired, loud-cravated Sixties child crackles with
youthful defiance and swagger.
superbly by Pameli Benham, the play’s beautifully
paced, with moments of quiet reflection and vulnerability
amongst its more frequent bursts of Wildean wit. Brilliant.