Deal with the Dragon (4 stars)

Fairytale and gay confessional collide in a superb solo show

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Deal with the Dragon

Couldn't we all do with a gay German shapeshifting dragon to help us out in those sticky moments? That's the unlikely beast who has aided Hunter to achieve his so-far limited success as a visual artist. But when a prestigious appointment appears to be within his reach – for which Hunter battles against fellow artist Gandhi, a man with more than enough problems of drink, drugs and sex of his own – both man and dragon are forced to reconsider their fiery relationship.

Blending, rethinking and wittily subverting fairytale, coming-out story and sordid confessional, San Francisco actor / writer Kevin Rolston's brilliant solo show is a big, grown-up, sophisticated piece of work, full of belly laughs but with serious themes of addiction, dependence and delusion at its heart. And his commanding performance propels us through all the magic realism and gay sex (not much of that, admittedly) superbly.

His comic (and often tragic) timing is faultless, in a hugely energetic, finely detailed performance that never shies away from unpicking gay stereotypes, and never gives us tidy answers to the show's unlikely conceits. It's a play that just builds and builds, in ambition and complexity, until its riches have been fully unfurled in a surprising but inevitable conclusion. A provocative, thoroughly entertaining achievement.

C nova, until 29 Aug (not 15), £9.50-£10.50 (£7.50-£8.50).

Deal with the Dragon

  • 4 stars

First Sprout Theatre (USA) What if you never had to deal with anything in your life you didn’t want to? But instead had a suave and sassy gay German dragon to deal with it for you? Sound enchanting? There’s some paperwork you’ll need to sign… and… we’ll need a little of your blood. ‘Infused with razor blades soaked…

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