My Gay Best Friend stays at The Hope Theatre until Saturday 27 January, book tickets here: My Gay Best Friend Tickets
Star rating *****
Reviewed by: Francesca Mepham
Sometimes you have the privilege of seeing a new piece of theatre that makes you laugh, cry and feel. In the case of My Gay Best Friend, at The Hope Theatre, this is certainly the case.
My Gay Best Friend is written and performed by Louise Jameson and Nigel Fairs, as best friends Rachel and Gavin, who on the surface certainly seem polar opposites. Rachel a beauty counter worker from Boots (who still wears shoulder pads) is brash, harsh and with a wicked sense of northern humour. Her ideal man is the innocuous Alan Titchmarsh, perhaps that’s why she gets on so well with the mild mannered and fashion impaired Gavin, who himself admits he’s the worst gay man, with his admission of not knowing the difference between the Minogue sisters! When two worlds collide during a nail varnish ‘accident’ the pair just click and the friendship is delicious.
The chemistry between Jameson and Fairs is a tour de force throughout the play, even when they are performing monologues, the affection seeps through that the two friends have for each other, small interactions that overlap are exquisite and so natural. Director, Veronica Roberts let’s the pair’s instinctive interactions always shine through, but never lets the two actors verge on stereotypes, which could have been so easily done.
Minimal use of props is testament to this production’s focus on heartfelt storytelling, perhaps the sparseness is a metaphor for the emptiness inside of Rachel and Gavin, whose childhoods have had a profound effect on the both of them. This aspect of My Gay Best Friend was heart-wrenching, with Jameson giving the most honest and understated account of Rachel’s trauma in her childhood, that resulted in her issues with men. Fairs showed great depth and tenderness, when there is a sense that no-one quite believed in Gavin with such conviction after his Gran died.
With fringe theatre, you often see plays written and performed by more ’emerging’ artists, which, don’t get me wrong is wonderful and vital for the future of theatre, but it’s a real delight and breath of fresh air, to see such a beautifully written and performed new play, from more seasoned actors. My Gay Best Friend is an outstanding piece of theatre that leaves you feeling emotionally attached to its characters, I very much hope Louise Jameson and Nigel Fairs write and perform together again in the future, as it’s absolute magic.