LOOKING For Fun? is a powerful debut play from Conor O’Cuinn who does not pull his punches in examining what it’s like to be gay in a straight world. His message? It isn’t necessarily all fun. Indeed, it’s often rather scary and transient.
Only 55 minutes long, O’Cuinn’s play, directed by Tazy Harrison-Moore, is punchy, provocative, controversial and bold – questioning the way dating apps dictate and encourage the way many gay men behave. More wham bam, thank you man, rather than a mission to emphasise long-term relationships. In the process, Grindr gets a good kicking. Good on O’Cuinn.
The show starts with O’Cuinn sitting in a sexual health clinic where he is undergoing various tests. We are then taken on a personal journey as he recalls his various sexual encounters – innocent, casual and non-consensual – as he awaits the test results.
There’s humorous exchanges with a Celtic-supporting barber (is he, isn’t he, gay?); a rather scary episode with his supplier of poppers who demands sexual gratification in return; and an even more shocking meeting with a guy who proceeds to rape him. All rather unsavoury.
He also has what he believes is a good time with a kindly partner who post a coital bonding cooks him breakfast, only to discover later that he has blocked him on Grindr. For God’s sake, why?
Although O’Cuinn is no innocent, he questions the influence of dating app Grindr in contemporary gay life. His view is that it encourages casual sex at the cost of building long-term relationships – and preys on the shame some individuals feel at being gay. As a result, it perpetuates mental health issues.
This snappy play is both brave and relevant – and O’Cuinn should be applauded for raising concerns about gay hookup-culture 2022. It’s obviously personal and from the heart – a monologue, with a good thumping soundtrack (thank you Martha Barrow), that deserves to be aired and heard. O’Cuinn is also pleasantly engaging on stage, occasionally tearing around like a terrier – ripping a top off here and applying face glitter there.
Looking For Fun? may not be fun, although it’s not without its bursts of humour. But it is of the moment. Well worth 55 minutes of your time. The play runs until October 15 – with two shows on the final day.