Thief (3 stars)

This article is from 2014


credit: Bill MacKellar

Jean Genet-inspired monologue at 2014 Edinburgh Fringe

Winston Churchill famously said the British Royal Navy was sustained by three things: 'rum, sodomy and the lash'. It is to just such a sexually dissolute and violent maritime society that we are taken to by Liam Rudden's Thief. A one-man play ‘inspired by’ the writings of the great French writer Jean Genet, it invites us into the dangerous underworld of 'Sailor', a rent boy for whom homosexuality is not so much a sexual orientation as a commercial necessity. The son of a prostitute and a faceless client, he seems predestined to a life on the high seas, living off the sale of his body and the opportunities for larceny that his sexual transactions afford.

Lacing his tales of recent exploits (a ring stolen from a high-ranking naval officer, a narrow escape from an insanely violent sex slaver) with key points from his biography, Matt Robertson's Sailor walks the blurred lines between pain and desire, excitement and death.

Thief is, in many respects, a very reasonable 50 minutes of theatre. The script is compelling, leaving vivid images imprinted on one's mind. It's just a pity that, given the subject matter, Robertson gives such a curiously clean performance.

Hill Street Solo Theatre, 226 6522, until 24 Aug (not12), £10 (£8).


  • 3 stars

Join a sailor whose life revolves around bars and dives.