Article Title:The Boys In The Band at the Silo
Author or Credit:John Curry
Published on:18th June 2005 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:785
Text:The Boys In The Band Dir: Jonathan Hendry Silo Theatre, Auckland, 'till July 2 I've been to a marvellous party! And you're invited too. Just drop whoever you're doing and hustle your muscle along to the Silo Theatre, where history's most famous gay play is enjoying a cracking revival that has all the brio of champagne laced with paint stripper. The Boys In The Band hasn't aged one bit! How does she do it! (I'm grey with envy myself.) This late-'60s bitchfest has Michael throwing a party for his bosom buddy Harold and - well, in between the withering put-downs and the alcohol-infused camaraderie, there are some extremely poignant and ominous moments - most notably when one of the boys makes an impassioned plea for his right to have as many tricks as he pleases... fortunately the Stonewall riots exploded within a year of this play's first performance, so the gay movement was organised just enough to cope with what came next. So, as this was before AIDS, lets relax a little and let our hair down (or what we have left of it) and join the boys as they so fittingly unwind to Martha and the Vandellas' 'Heatwave.' But with so many delights! Where to begin? Well, though Ross Gibbs' set did cause some 'tennis-match moments', it let the action, the vitriol and the love flow. And how about that sly reference to the long table in Leonardo's 'Last Supper'? And was the bar an altar reference maybe? His costumes were a tad too tasteful for my memory but Shane Bosher's Brian Jones' sunnies were so spot on I almost carked it when he first appeared. But then Mr Bosher proved to be much more than his sunnies, much much more. His Harold was a wise and bitter survivor with a triumphant calmness that owed as much to experience as it did to maryjane and all her little friends. Heath Jones as the affable and charming loser Donald, was the dependable rock every party needs, and Craig Hall as the only straight in the village was obviously a future candidate for the Log Cabin Repubs. No better compliment could be paid him than saying that he brought the outside world along with him into this brave - and flaming - new world. Edward Peni turned a famous caricature into a human being with his moving confession in the infamous truth game. Similarly, Fasitua Amosa was touchingly truthful in his participation here, particularly with his plea for 'dignity'. With casting this good you knew Cowboy (Jake Lindesay) would be a winner when he turned up, and yes, his mixture of innocence and ignorance was charming, believable - and impish. But it was the relationship between Larry and Hank (Simon London and Edwin Wright) that almost stole the show. From the moment they appeared, the atmosphere between them - the love! the jealousy! the desire to be together! the need for individual freedom! - was so palpable it was knife-cutting time! However, it was Stephen Butterworth as the motor-mouth dynamo who throws the party (and drives the show) to whom we should all be writing thank you notes. The mercurial mood swings, the vocal technique, the energy, the humour and the sadness, the vicuna sweaters, the cracked crab - what a control queen! And what an unforgettable host! Of course, you could argue that the real star of the show was the actors' team work, their 'ensemble' - from go to woe it was just one luscious reciprocal massage. So, thanks a bunch to Jonathon Hendry for mixing such a heady cocktail and beaucoup thanks to Silo for letting us all in on the action. This is the sort of live theatre that knocks movies and the telly stone cold dead. PS. A brave, local gay theatre group - Laetus Productions, run by Mel Morati - staged a production of this back in the mid seventies. John Curry - 18th June 2005    
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