In a year where the Pride Festival has been exposed to divisions within the LGBT community, Homos, or Everyone in America is a fitting choice to be one of the big theatrical offerings on show.
The play, centred on the turbulent relationship between two gay men, is a potent discussion on where queer people sit in the modern era.
Jack Buchanan and Arlo Green portray The Writer and The Academic, two men whose drunken first date sparks an intensely fiery romance. The play's timeline jumbles the highs and lows of their five year-long relationship, leaping from their meeting in 2006 to their reconciliation in 2011.
Buchanan and Green excel in juggling this disorderly world. The two are required to change emotions drastically in the blink of an eye, but the pair embrace the challenge and effortlessly move from weeping on the floor to talking about cocaine at a marriage equality rally. The two complement each other, and are equally devastatingly convincing.
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That emotional intensity is front and centre as director Shane Bosher has put the focus entirely on them. The audience frames his minimalist stage on all sides, putting us intimately close to the action and making us as much a part of the relationship as those performing.
New York-based playwright Jordan Seavey has crafted a script that oozes with rapid-fire zingers as our two lovers fire quips and insults at each other with spot-on precision. Even with his unchronological structure, he has all the right pieces on the board and builds a clearly defined narrative, often surprising in how scenes come back around and join together.
Yet his razor-sharp wit can only go so far. The constant bickering between the two, whilst a realistic look at a long-term relationship, begins to feel tiresome as the 105 minute play lumbers on and the focus on this fluctuating romance often feels hijacked by repetitive debates about gay life that conflicts his intention.
For Seavey has cast a wide net, trying to analyse how gay men fit into modern society and how achievable equality is, while also trying to present an intrinsically queer relationship that also feels broad enough to apply to anyone. There is a slight conflict between the two, as though two works have been melded into one.
Only when Homos nears its conclusion and fully embraces tropes of the genre does it truly come into its own. There, the emotion behind both the relationship and the community's struggles shines bright, bringing out the best of Bosher and his performers and delivering a heart-wrenching and immersive moment that showcases theatre at its finest.
What: Homos, or Everyone in America
Where: Q Theatre, until Feb 16