Park Theatre (venue)
24 August 2023 (released)
29 August 2023
As you walk into the performance space and see it’s layout of cabaret style table and chairs for some of the seating and mirror slash curtain on the surrounding walls you are expecting a certain type of show, but when Will (Michael Waller) appears as a brash northern lad, pint in hand, you are suddenly aware this will be a not be at all what you expected. What you get is a personal exploration of a man who on the surface is full of bravado, but underneath is a mess of mixed emotions and hidden feelings.
This 60-minute monologue written by Tim Fraser is a play like its protagonist full of varying dramatic moments. Some funny some sole searching and some quietly heart wrenching. This began life as a six-page short play and with the support of Reboot Theatre Company has grown into a more complete piece. You can see where this extra time has been added in the development of two subplots concerning a boss that fancies him and an aging relation he calls ‘Toadface’ who watches trashy television with his Mum who he still lives with. These do add much to the background and the humour and angst that Will is experiencing but it is the main story about his infatuation with a drag singer called Candy, who just so happens to be his school chum Billy, where this play really takes off.
The moment Will sees Candy he is totally smitten, he knows that under the make up the red dress and the wig it is Billy, but that doesn’t stop the feelings he has for her. This is where this play really excels. Will isn’t gay, he fancies women and to him when Billy is Candy it is that personae that Will loves. He knows how crazy that is, but the infatuation becomes all-encompassing and self-destructive as he fights with his inner self to hide his feelings. Michael Waller is excellent and pitches his performance just right. It would be so easy to slip into parody here, but his truthful performance is why this play works.
As an exploration of another side of masculinity and secretive passion this leaves a lasting thought concerning what each of us is willing to accept as normal. You sometimes fall for someone that doesn’t always make sense in our ‘World’. But that doesn’t make it wrong. This play cleverly holds a mirror up to a Society where being different is always a struggle.