It may come as a surprise to you, but occasionally I do go to see different shows! This week it was the acclaimed revival of Kevin Elyot’s ‘My Night with Reg‘, thanks to Official Theatre and SeatPlan.
If you’re not aware of the play, it’s basically about a group of gay friends who meet up intermittently under the shadow of the 80s AIDS fear (at a flat-warming, a wake and following the death of one of their circle). And nearly all of them have, at one point or another, spent at least one night with Reg.
I’m always a bit wary of shows with no interval – it can be very hard-going (physically and mentally!), but in this case it could not have worked in any other way. Continuity definitely helped to prolong the ambiguity of time passing between acts, and the slow realisation that dawns over the audience that things are getting worse.
Every character is brilliantly portrayed by a fantastically talented cast, but the development of Daniel (played by Geoffrey Streatfeild) was the most interesting to me. Starting off flamboyant and carefree – toasting to “gross indecency!”, “sodomy!” and “indecent exposure!” in the first act – he starts to confront his own mortality following the death of his partner, and continues on a downward spiral in the years that follow.
Possibly my favourite scene in the whole show was Daniel and John (Julian Ovenden) putting on David Bowie’s ‘Starman‘ – at first singing raucously, but collapsing into tears (along with the entire audience, most likely) as soon as the guitar kicks in after the first chorus. It’s an instinctively emotional moment.
I was warned beforehand that it would make me cry a lot – but in the end I didn’t really. To be honest though, I think I just wasn’t completely in the right place for it. (I think I may have used all my tears up on another show, actually!) If I saw it again I’d probably end up in floods…
‘My Night with Reg’ is a funny, touching play with an enduring relevance for us all. Go and see it while you can!