Shopping and Fucking

  • Date:
    Wednesday, January 15, 1997

    It tells the story of Gary (Antony Ryding), a 14 year-old rent boy who ran away from home after being repeatedly raped by his step father. However it seems this experience with his step father has effected him so bad that he finds he needs hard sex and to be dominated to get pleasure. He befriends a punter called Mark ( James Kennedy).

    Mark who is in his twenties, is a drug addict who is trying to kick the habit . He seeks help, but part of the treatment is not to get into any personal relationships, but he finds himself falling for Gary. However Mark’s old boyfriend , Robbie (Andrew Clover) is still in love with him and becomes jealous of the rent boy.

    This play sets out to shock, and shock is exactly what it does. It has scenes that simulate homosexual acts in the most graphic details. So much so, I ‘m unable to put in writing in fear of offending some readers.

    I do question the need for this type of sexual detail in ANY play, but I must admit in this case some scenes did need to be most graphic to effectively get over the severity of what the rent boy was going through. Having said that I was disappointed with the writing, I expected the story to be more powerful, but it was overpowered by the shocking scenes. The play didn’t get into the characters enough to get a better understanding of what they were really feeling , thus you find yourself not feeling as sympathetic towards them as you probably should.

    The acting was adequate but at times looked a little amateurish. I particularly liked the character Lulu ( Kate Ashfield), she is the flatmate of Robbie and the character Brian ( Robin Soans), a weird drug pusher.

    This play should only be seen by very open minded people and then still be prepared to be shocked. You have been warned!!

    (Darren Dalglish)

    Jack Tinker the theatre critic of the Daily Mail who died suddenly last year was very supportive of new writer Mark Ravenhill whose first play after a provincial tour is now in the West End for a short season.

    Don't let the title put you off,this 90's play dealing with a society bent on money and sex tell a dark tale of the problems which arise for those who have little material wealth and whose relationships twist and turn. Littered with characters who survive on microwave meals,dealing in E ,telephone sex and adventures with 'rent boys' as well as coping with nasty drug dealers this play paints a very dark side of life in the 90's,but I suspect one that is known in some small detail to quite a large proportion of the population.

    The humour which is scattered throughout the play including a delicious story about Diana and Fergie when they went on their alleged infamous nightclub visit dressed as the police.If you know nothing of this type of life see it for a rollercoaster experience.

    The acting is superb from Russell Barr as the "14 year old " rent boy to Tony Guilfoyle (Father Larry in Father Ted) as the vicious drug dealer. After the season at the Gielgud the play moves to the Edinburgh Festival.

    (John Fields)

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