Willie and Sebastian
Pushing nihilism to the limits in Ian Pattison's new play
This article is from 2015.
Willie Donaldson and Sebastian Horsley were two legendary real-life rakes, sharing excess and seedy glamour. Comedy veterans Andy Gray and Grant Stott play celebrated writer Ian Pattison's titular anti-heroes in a comedy drama which explores what happens when satirist Donaldson (Stott) and art establishment flouncer Horsley (Gray) fall for the same woman, model and society girl-about-town Rachel (Michelle Gallagher).
It seems that for Horsley, sex with dwarves and disabled prostitutes is the ultimate limit, and he's ready to settle down, to Donaldson's chagrin.
In his home, soaked with disappointment, Willie sits waiting for Rachel, musing on his other true love, crack cocaine. Gray is grubbily compelling, an ageing tomcat, with Gallagher more than just a sultry redhead- fantasy made flesh with a series of smart one-liners. Stott is less assured, if fine, but looks distractingly like Hugh Bonneville in Downton Abbey, with a slightly wandering accent.
The formula is well-worn: a love triangle so sharp you could stub your toe on it, but it's surprisingly soulful, proving that Pattison's ink can be sanguine and melancholic. Director Sam Kane's staging also contains a few bawdy surprises - particularly for some brave souls sitting at the front.
Gilded Balloon, 622 6552, until 31 Aug (not 17), 8.15pm, £12-£14 (£10-£12).