Undetectable at the King’s Head Theatre
Hidden through a double door, tucked behind a box office sheltered under a decrepit sunshade and next to a thriving bar, the King’s Head Theatre is a cosy and buzzing space.
The central stage hosts an elevated, messy bed complete with couple Lex (Freddie Hogan) and Bradley (Lewis Brown) cuddled up and ready for the lights to go down. The bed remains a focal point throughout as the two characters explore their feelings about having sex with each other for the first time after three months of dating.
The success of Tom Wright’s writing is in the wit with which the pair navigate commonplace relationship moments that are universally relatable. The use of humour that is firmly rooted in 2019 (“sashay away, honey”!) keeps the audience laughing and successfully draws them into a conversation that slowly runs deeper in order to explore what it means to be part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Brown and Hogan deliver a virtually faultless performance, sparring against one another and unravelling the vulnerability of their characters in such an intimate moment. They are somewhat let down as the play progresses by a script that tries to do too much within the constraints of the sparse staging that otherwise works to great effect.
These later scenes lead the audience on a journey to understand the history of the central duo as members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Complexity and trauma are piled onto both men and left unresolved, reinforcing the message that the challenges that their community face are ongoing. Sadly, the delivery of their individual backstories is slightly disengaging for the audience and lacks some of the finesse of the earlier writing.
Regardless, the production is an admirable and exciting opening into conversations around vulnerability, denial and acceptance of what it is to be human. Undetectable is well worth catching at The King’s Head this March.
Photo: Nick Rutter
Undetectable is at the King’s Head Theatre from 13th March until 6th April 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.