entertainment

'Sex/Crime' at the Soho Theatre review: 'A disturbing and violent exploration of what it means to be loved''

Alexis Gregory and Jonny Woo deliver gripping performances in this show about the darker echelons of the gay psyche.

2020-02-05

Words: William Cohn

A genre that off-West End theatregoers do not see often is the ‘queer thriller.’ But Alexis Gregory is here to fill the void with his dark comedy that delves into despair and explores what it means to be loved.

Having seen success at renowned Hackney performance/club venue The Glory, the Robert Chevara-directed show graduated to the Soho Theatre, continuing to elicit uproarious laughter from the audience alongside sounds of shock and horror. Signs that the show is doing exactly what it is supposed to.

Two men, ‘A’ and ‘B’, meet under the strangest of circumstances, one running a business based on role-play where people pay to re-enact the murders of a gay serial killer, and the other his client.

But this is not any typical session for either. As the show unfolds, this appointment runs overtime as Alexis Gregory’s intentions in the role of the animated and emphatic client become clear, and the relationship between him and his tormentor-of-the-hour (a raw and intense performance by Jonny Woo), deepens.

Gripping monologues and an obvious connection between the two actors that allows them to seamlessly play off each other keeps the viewer at the edge of their seat, creating what seems like a verbal tennis match where ‘A’ and ‘B’ play off each other perfectly.

Punctuating the strong language and tense exchanges between the two men is the lighting, which, at times, makes the show more predictable than it otherwise would have been. Likewise, the humour sometimes works to well to steal the spotlight away from the palpability of the performance.

But this minor quibbles do not detract from the show serving a disturbing and violent thriller that dissects the trust men can place in strangers during intimate contact.

Sex/Crime is a unique take on sexual role play gone wrong, using the storyline as an impetus to explore the vulnerability of being queer and how loneliness can blur the definition of someone’s place in a world that seems like it is always against them.

Rating: 4/5

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