This show returns to London in 2015, following a run at Jermyn Street theatre in 2014.
Saturday afternoon and Kyle is on the terraces, shouting down the away side’s goalscorer. Saturday night and, after a phone call from his pimp, he’s going down on the same man.
Arriving under two months after ‘The Pass’, John Donnelly’s Royal Court hit about a gay footballer, might have nutmegged Rob Ward and Martin Jameson’s look at the same subject, but the truth is that they’re leagues apart.
There’s a soap opera quality – a ‘Roy of the Rovers’ improbability – to this one-man show, largely because it’s overloaded with plot, much of it generic and plenty of it improbable. The unnamed footballer transfers into town – to play for the local rivals – and tries to secure Kyle’s services exclusively, while swanning about VIP areas with one Wag or another. Less than six months later, after several crises and a serious car accident, he’s transferred on again.
Because the footballer remains offstage – great pains being taken to avoid any resemblance to potential real counterparts – the intricacies of his conundrum go unexplored. Instead, Ward and Jameson show us the consequences of his closetedness, while suggesting that Kyle’s aggressive outness – he uses his line of work to provoke his homophobic father – can be just as selfish.
Ward plays Kyle himself with plenty of attack and a roguish charm, but there’s a naivety to Jameson’s production, which seems terrified of risking theatricality. Rather than just bunging Kyle on a stage to tell us his story, he’s stuck in his flat, pottering around and awkwardly addressing an invisible, silent partner. Not only does it clash with the multi-role, all-the-accents performance mode, it leaves the whole thing a bit limp.