ALTHOUGH it may be a little long at 105 minutes – with no break for a glass of water or bubbles – Homos Or Everyone In America races along at a Formula One pace. More Lewis Hamilton than a snail.
In part, this is because of the mighty fine writing of Jordan Seavey – serious, occasionally poetic and underpinned by a wry sense of humour. But it is primarily a result of the masterful performances of the play’s two main characters. The writer (Harry McEntire) and the academic (Tyrone Huntley) . Two young actors in prime – and fine – form. Destined for greatness.
Set in New York’s Brooklyn between 2006 and 2011, the play centres on the blossoming relationship between the two of them, against a backdrop still hostile to improving gay rights. The writer, a non-practicing Jew, is struggling to make a name for himself but he is witty and charming. He is also insecure and prone to bouts of damaging jealousy. The academic, by way of contrast, is self-assured, handsome and comfortable in his own skin. He is also black.
Thrown into the mix is Dan (Dan Krikler), tall and good looking whom the academic meets and the writer is immediately envious of. Yet it is the writer, more willing to be sexually experimental, who ends up upsetting the applecart.
The play is non-linear which means the jigsaw takes a little while to take shape. But it works as the pieces smoothly slot into place. Indeed, its adds to the play’s enjoyment. Throw in a homophobic attack and an enjoyable cameo from Cash Holland as Laila – a seller of sweet smelling bath bombs – and you have a near perfect play.
It is directed with aplomb by Josh Seymour with the set (designed by Lee Newby) delineated by bags of bath bombs and sand. There is some good music (Vivaldi) as the writer and academic embark on their frantic and fractious relationship. Tim Charrington (dialect coach) also deserves credit for ensuring the audience believes the play is centred on two young American guys living in Brooklyn.
Homos Or Everyone In America represents fresh theatre, infused as it is with a youthful zest. Yes, it is a little claustrophobic as the writer and academic play verbal – and emotional – ping pong. But it never drags. Not for a minute. Fresh and all-consuming. Formula One at its best.
Photo by Marc Brenner