This compact and punchy two-hander currently showing at Above The Stag is an evening of unexpected twists and turns.
Handsome young student Noah is enjoying an intimate encounter with Elliot – a guy he’s found Grindr. We join the pair just as they finish the biological business and witness the post-coital conversation taking a turn for the unexpected. Could it be that this melding of bodies and minds is not the result of random chance that it first appears?
Artistic Director of the venue, Peter Bull, has taken to the directorial chair for the first time since launching the theatre in 2008, and it’s a triumphant return. Bull has injected pace and energy into a gripping thriller with absorbing results. This is a piece that bubbles along gently and amusingly for the first fifteen minutes or so, before grabbing the audience by the throat and pulling them completely into a world of unexpected traumas and shadows beneath the surface.
James Farley absolutely shines as the tormented Noah, offering us a studied portrayal of a young gay man who has complex issues with his past as well as crippling body image problems. Alexander Hulme is a commanding presence as Elliot, the slightly older hunk whose more carefree and straightforward approach to life is seriously challenged as the piece plays out. The chemistry between the two boys is superb, skilful switching of status throughout is an emotionally impressive balancing act.
Revelations come thick and fast as the play rattles towards a gut-punch of a conclusion. With a running time of only 50 minutes, this is a short sharp shock to be relished. Highly recommended!
Gay Times gives Extra Virgin – ★★★★☆
More information can be found here.