Scott Agnew: Tales of the Sauna
Fascinating insight into a furtive institution
This article is from 2012.
Scott Agnew’s exploration of the gay sauna world attempts to blow the lid on this furtive institution. After disarmingly segregating his audience into gay and straight, Agnew dives into his material almost too keenly. He seems wary of overdoing audience interaction despite some great potential. When a grandmother arrives late with her grandson and shows willingness to banter, Agnew admits that the role of embarrassed party in the exchange has switched and he clams up.
After a little history and rule-explaining, Agnew recalls his first sauna experience. Despite a somewhat nervous delivery, he’s a compelling storyteller and maintains his crowd’s attention through a frank confessional. It’s not all sex: he explains how some patrons have cottoned on to using saunas as cheap hotels, prompting one owner to chase out dozing guests.
The show takes a serious turn as Agnew relates how recent events have made him fearful of a homophobic backlash. It’s an impassioned plea for tolerance, although it comes so far into his set, he’s likely preaching to the converted.
The Stand III & IV, 558 7272, until 26 Aug (not 13), 11.40pm, £8 (£7).