Coming Clean, Kevin Elyot’s first professionally produced play, looks at the breakdown of a gay couple’s relationship and examines complex questions of fidelity and love.
It was first performed pre AIDS at the Bush Theatre, London, on 3 November 1982.
Now it is being revived for its 35th Anniversary into The King’s Head Theatre 2017 Queer Season; a curated 9 week programme of LGBTQI Theatre opening in July.
King’s Head Theatre’s Artistic Director Adam Spreadbury-Maher directs this first London revival of Kevin Elyot’s play that questions fidelity and the limits of love written before his hit play ‘My Night With Reg’, a noted classic of queer theatre.
The play is set in a flat in Kentish Town, north London, in 1982. Struggling writer Tony and his partner of five years, Greg, seem to have the perfect relationship. Committed and in love, they are both open to one-night stands as long as they don’t impinge on the relationship. But Tony is starting to yearn for something deeper, something more like monogamy. When he finds out that Greg has been having a full-blown affair with their cleaner, Robert, their differing attitudes towards love and commitment become clear.
In 1970 I moved to Dartmouth Park Hill near Tufnell Park tube close to Kentish Town, so was asked where the characters would have cottaged, drank, cruised and found sexual partners as part of character development.
Set in pre-AIDS 1982, I was asked by the Director to speak to the cast about Gay Life in the 60’s and 70’s so they could develop character parts and ask questions about their respective character backgrounds, so I started out sharing what information about queers were available during criminalisation and what it was like when I came out in 1967 and the background to it. It was a bit of a hoot really talking for almost 90 mins with them scribbling notes and developing production ideas. They were only 3 days into rehearsal, and no one was around in 1982 so it was an eager audience.
We discussed Cottaging, Dirk Bogarde films ACCIDENT & VICTIM, Polari, Politics, The Colhearne, Earls Court Gay Scene in the 60’s, Zipper, HIM Magazine, Crisco, COLT Porn Mags, Poppers, pills, Hampstead Heath, Jack Straw’s Castle, BANGS and Marlboro Red Lights tucked into Capped T shirt sleeves. It was like memory lane.
Check out all the plays in the season here and get OFF your phone for a while.