Over to past 10 years mainstream theatres seem to have become less interest in works with a gay theme, presuming, apparently, that as there are fewer legal inequalities between the mainstream and LGBT+ people, there is nothing left to specifically say about our lives.
But when they do come along, plays with gay themes can be as brilliant as Kenny Morgan, by Mike Poulton, which is coming to the end of its second run at Easy London’s premier fringe theatre, the Arcola. It is, in a was a resetting of history. In 1952, The Deep Blue Sea, by the most acclaimed British playwright of the time, Terrence Rattigan was staged. It followed the tragic relationship between a man and a woman – but was inspired by Rattigan’s relationship with a man. Because homosexuality was then illegal, Rattigan changed his lover’s gender.
It’s painful to watch, being about a relationship that cannot be openly expressed. At its centre is a stunning performance from Paul Keating, who, in the title role, perfectly articulates the terror of a man trapped by historical circumstance – a performance more than deserving of the Attitude Award for Stage Performance of the Year.
Keating’s performance was described as “exceptional” by The Times, while top theatre site whatsonstage.com said he gives a “brilliant… career defining performance”. Having already been nominated for an Olivier award in 1996 and with theatre credits including The Full Monty, Pet Shop Boys musical Closer To Heaven and Blowing Whistles, Keating is an undeniable talent.
Read more about MNEK and the rest of winners from the Attitude Awards 2016, presented in association withVirgin Holidays, in our special November issue, which comes with six different covers featuring the night’s biggest winners.
It’s available to download from 11pm tonight at pocketmags.com/attitude and available in shops from Wednesday (October 12). You can order the cover of your choice from 10am on Tuesday (October 11) at newsstand.co.uk.