Told Look Younger at Jermyn Street
Elderly LGBT people are three times more likely than elderly heterosexual people to be single and live alone. With nobody to help and comfort them, this can threaten both their mental and physical health. The charity Opening Doors London aims to rectify this injustice and provide the basic support that’s missing. Promoting this cause, comedy Told Look Younger is a talking point, a topic of conversation that will help raise awareness and understanding in the wider community of the fears older LGBT people face.
The play is a straightforward affair, with minimal action making room for maximum psychological exploration. Three old friends meet up for dinner every nine months or so to catch up, gossip and, inevitably, insult one another. Not once do they actually make it to the dinner part. The topic of conversation: sex, love, aging, and a bit more sex thrown in for good measure. And it literally does feel that way.
Stephen Wyatt’s writing is warming, easy-humoured and identifiable, but upon occasion will throw in the theatrical version of a get-out-of-jail-free card. Wyatt’s reliance on stereotype to sell the story of his three companions and to generate laughter is, in places, too heavy, and the authenticity and intelligence of his characters is forfeited in favour of cheap gags and badly placed crude words. Whether or not it’s the writing or Michael Garner’s performance, character Jeremy feels more cracked than complete, a bit like eyes peeping when they’re supposed to be asleep.
The gags and the stereotypes do, however, help Wyatt stamp out an important message. Underneath the comedy and the drama, a more significant picture is being drawn about the “need for human contact” that effects everybody. Wyatt uses well-respected and wealthy men to demonstrate how this isn’t a class issue, but a human one. The play works more so as an important social conversation than a theatrical production, but it is touching and quietly entertaining nonetheless.
Told Look Younger is on at Jermyn Street Theatre until 4th July 2015, for further information or to book visit here.