The Last Session
It's nothing like Rent. Promise.
They've done it again. The team behind last year's beautifully haunting production of Thrill Me are back in town and better than ever, with Darren Day taking the lead in their latest offering to the gay gods of theatre, The Last Session.
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Set in the intimate surroundings of a small recording studio, we meet Gideon, a successful singer songwriter battling the final stages of AIDS and evaluating the current value of his life. He's decided to end it all and is recording one last record to leave as a legacy to his partner. Cheery stuff right? Bear with us.
Gideon is joined by two fiercely competitive back-up singers, brought to life by Lucy "The Diva" Vandi and Simone Craddock, swigging from a thermos of vodka, rocking a pair of tight leather trousers and channelling her inner Maureen. LOVE HER.
Also supporting the trio is southern Baptist boy A J Dean, who (needless to say) has a few conflicting points of view when it comes to that age-old sin of *whisper it* homosexuality. But he's earnest and means well and looks great in a tight white vest, so we'll forgive him for harbouring a few bigoted opinions just this once.
The "theological chess game" that follows is interspersed with a varied and beautifully composed musical score and a subtle country twang that we couldn’t get enough of. Steve Schalchlin, we commend you.
All the performers possess powerful voices and Day makes for a commanding central character, narrating the audience through the various stages of his disease but always keeping their rapt attention.
A fantastic show; touching, funny and, dare we say it, pretty damn life-affirming too.
Oh, and if you can spare a few pennies to donate to our old friends at the Make a Difference Trust then they'll be rattling buckets on your way out.
5/5 Click here for tickets and more information.
Until 27 October at the Tristan Bates Theatre, London
Words: Stu Hurford