Writer: Peter Darney
Director: Peter Darney
Reviewer: Saoirse Anton
Taken from over 50 hours of interview material found through Grindr and other social media, 5 Guys Chillin’ is an entertaining, yet raw and often saddening piece of documentary theatre exploring the high and lows of the world of chem-sex, Grindr and chill-outs.
To distill so much source material into less than 90 minutes of dialogue covering a diverse range of issues is no easy task, but one which writer/director Peter Darney manages impressively. There were moments at which some of the dialogue seemed forced; for some of the earliest outbursts or moments of tension there was not enough of a sense of trust having been built between the characters or the characters and audience for the interaction to feel natural. However, overall the script brought to the stage a variety of topics, from racism in dating apps to the intimate details of a struggling relationship, in a measured but moving manner.
The five performers certainly did the script justice, committing fully to every facet of their characters, the good and the bad, the sexy and the decidedly not. Each actor brings an open, vivacious energy to their character that carries the show and holds the audience’s attention despite the overall lack of plot. Complimenting the performances is the simple, effective sound and lighting design. The sometimes pronounced, sometimes infinitesimal changes in the level of the music help the transitions between scenes, and maintain the pace of the show as the characters move from conversation, to kissing, and back again.
The rawness of the script, enhanced by the knowledge that it is verbatim theatre, makes 5 Guys Chillin’ an insightful and enlightening piece of documentary theatre that entertains and dismays in equal measure.
Runs until 14 May 2016 | Image:courtesy of Em-Lou Productions and King’s Head Theatre.