A Partnership (3 stars)

This article is from 2019

A Partnership

Ambitious gay relationship drama bites off more than it can chew

Zach and Ally have been together for five years, but their relationship is quietly fracturing. Nurse Ally is desperate to cling on to his sense of youthful adventure as he turns 30, throwing himself into gin and coke. Lawyer Zach, however, wants a nice kitchen and evenings watching Poirot. As they await delivery of an Indian takeaway, more is revealed than either of them anticipated.

And there's more crammed into Rory Thomas-Howes' nonetheless entertaining two-hander than there probably should be: fear of ageing, definition of sexual roles, monogamy versus wild affairs, bisexuality, self-loathing, gay marriage and more all get a look in, with the result that none gets the dissection it properly deserves.

At times A Partnership feels too much like a catalogue of issues facing gay couples, but Thomas-Howes has come up with a strongly defined duo to explore those questions (even if it stretches credulity to believe they've managed to stay together for so long). He plays the long-suffering Zach, hankering after wealth and security, while quietly detesting the gay men around him. Ben Hadfield prances and preens across the stage as Ally, needy yet showing a surprising strength and integrity. Director Josh Tucker keeps things moving fluently. There's a lot that's impressive in A Partnership, but as it stands, its ambition hampers its clarity.

Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, until 26 Aug (not 12), 2.45pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50).

A Partnership

  • 3 stars

Paper Mug Theatre Can two men in modern-day London have a long-lasting, monogamous relationship? A Partnership, a relationship comedy-drama featuring two men, has no angels, no AIDS and no other characters – it looks into the changing face of homophobia, as partners Ally and Zach are forced to have a conversation nine…