Theatre Reviews: F*cking Men, 5 Guys Chillin'

International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

From relationships to sex parties, there’s plenty of graphic sex in our first round-up of reviews from the closing week of this year’s International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival


F*cking Men

Rating ****


The King’s Head Theatre has been at the forefront of producing provocative queer theatre in London over the last 35 years, and it’s quite a coup for the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival (IDGTF) to have enticed not one, but two of its recent productions to Ireland. The first of these has proved to be one of King’s Head’s biggest successes. F*ucking Men by Joe DiPietro is a loose adaptation of the 19th century French classic, La Ronde, and sees us follow a series of linked couples through pivotal moments. One of each couple is then followed into the next piece until we end up back where we started.

The three actors are excellent and manage to make very distinct characters out of their multiple roles. The action, ably directed by Mark Barford, zips along seamlessly. As is often the case with a series of short linked plays, which is what F*cking Men in effect is, some stories will resonate more than others, and that led to a certain amount of frustration for me. I wanted some to go on longer, particularly the meeting between a closeted journalist whose partner has recently died and a closeted film star who has decided to go public. Issues are raised, but sometimes not explored very deeply, as it’s time for the next couple to have their time to in the spotlight. Still, it’s a very entertaining evening, and on its own terms succeeds very well. There are many moments that might have couples staring uneasily at their shoes! Sean Denyer

‘F*cking Men’ at The Players Theatre until May 14 at 7.30pm with a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm, tickets available here or on the door. 


5 Guys Chillin’

Rating *****

The second IDGTF offering from King’s Head Theatre is in some ways a companion piece to the recent documentary film, Chemsex, which was recently screened in Dublin by Gay Switchboard. Based on over 50 hours of interviews with men recruited from hook-up apps and social media, the piece features five guys who meet up for a drug-fuelled sex party, during which they tell us about their different experiences of this newly emerging scene.

Some may find this play challenging; its descriptions of sex acts are extremely graphic (and had some audience members gasping on the night I went) and the humour, when it does appear, is very dark. There is some really excellent ensemble acting from a very talented group of actors, and what could have been quite a static piece is given lots of dynamic movement, choreographed by writer/director Peter Darney.

There is not too much in the way of explanation, and no moralising or judgements, which might frustrate fans of theatrical resolutions or tidy endings. You do feel like a voyeur much of the time, and Darney is very obviously aware of this, right down to the brilliantly uncomfortable exit you make at the end of the show, when you are not certain whether to applaud, and find it’s your turn to be stared at. This is definitely not the show to go to if you are looking for an evening of light entertainment. A sometimes uneasy experience, but a very important one. Sean Denyer

 ‘5 Guys Chillin” continues at The Players Theatre until May 14 at 9.00pm, with a matinee on Saturday at 4.00pm. Tickets available here or on the door

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