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The Act

This brilliant gay play transfers to London’s West End for a limited run and is not to be missed!

Laughing in the face of adversity is one of the greatest strengths of the gay community. If there is such a thing as a gay sensibility this could be said to define it. Nothing undermines a bully like a well timed gag. Sound familiar?

We are so lucky in this country. Whilst Russia and Uganda and other countries are giving us a non stop horror show of human rights abuses we can luxuriate in a political climate that is, in relative terms, extremely supportive. We live in a country where everyone is free to fulfill their own sexual and romantic destiny, without fear of state persecution. But how did this happen? Why are we so lucky when they are not? Given that many of our former colonies are using the Victorian laws we left them to suppress gay rights, how is it that we have been able to shake loose of them? Luck has nothing to do with it. We are standing on the shoulders of giants. And we must give thanks. And laugh in the faces of the bullies.

Many people don’t know the story. The trials and witch hunts, The Wolfenden Report, the lifting of the ban on sex between consenting men in private. The 10 years of debates in the House of Commons that led to that repeal in 1967. The determination of the people who knew they had right on their side. It is only 50 years ago.

Thomas Hescott and Matthew Baldwin are soon to open their show The Act at Trafalgar 2 in London’s West End. It’s the story of Matthews, an unremarkable civil servant who descends into the 60s’ Soho underworld in a quest for love. It is a small story but one worth telling. A story of what life was like when most politicians were hostile to the gay community. When the only tools at our disposal were a sense of humour and the conviction that we do deserve a place in the world. And there are plenty of people who remember those days. They have drawn on the experiences of friends from that generation and laughed until they cried.

Matthew Baldwin (The Act’s co-creator) said: “The search for love should unite people. Denying that possibility to gay people forbids us from taking our place within our communities and families. All people, gay and straight alike, are fools for love. That’s what all the songs and the poems and the operas and the films are about. We have added our small contribution to this with The Act and hope that you will laugh with us and celebrate the camp resolve that got us where we are.”

The Act, 24-29 February, Trafalgar Studios, London.

More information and tickets: The Act

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