Review: Up4aMeet at The Crescent Theatre
David Kuczora reviews Up4aMeet at The Crescent Theatre.
The first pair of buttocks were exposed a conservative 15 seconds after curtain up. I counted one muted gasp, several squeals of delight and a couple of stifled giggles.
David Cameron can relax however; this was LIPA-trained actor Chris Wills in a play at The Crescent so it's art, not pornography. Keep calm and carry ars... I mean on.
A group of my culture-loving friends and I had been swayed by the thought-provoking pitch for Up4aMeet on the web, which promised Lloyd "X Factor" Daniels, Nikki "Who Is She?" Grahame and "more nudity than is decent".
The philosopher and sociologist Pierre Bourdieu argued that our propensity to enjoy the arts is limited by our upbringing and life experience. It's our cultural capital, and explains why shows which juxtapose "high culture" production values and theatrical techniques with a good ol' yarn tend to enjoy commercially-successful long runs. The Lion King, currently on at Birmingham Hippodrome, is a case in point. Who doesn't love big flashy costumes and an Elton John tune?
Up4aMeet is unapologetically low culture. After all, former Big Brother contestant and self-proclaimed "sexual activist" Benedict Garrett spends the virtually the entire show completely nude. At one point he breaks the fourth wall -- and his ludicrously over-the-top Spanish accent -- to deliver a literally balls-out soliloquy on how the joke is really on the audience, given the paper-thin plot and hammy acting.
Both despite and because of this it's a likeable show, delivering some witty moments of well-observed social commentary about love and life on the gay scene currently.
The two flatmates who agree they're long overdue a catch up sit side by side silently checking their phones for under a minute before agreeing they should do it again soon. The overarching nervousness of Generation Y to get out and meet people, instead dating with a keyboard and cyberspace as a safety buffer in between.
The cast were clearly having fun; at one point just before the play's climax there was an uncontrolled bout of giggling. Penny Tasker (of RADA doncha know!) stole the show, her catty and camp one-liners disparaging enough to make her the model fag hag.
Up4aMeet doesn't pretend to the literary gravitas of Jean Poiret, but it's a delicious romp nonetheless. Perhaps instead a budget Birdcage for a Grindr age.