Fifty years of gay history squeezed into an energetic, witty solo show
There's no doubting the ambition of Anglo-US company Starving Artists' solo show: to take us through the last 50 or so years of gay history, while also sketching in an encounter with a darkly magnetic figure in London's Old Compton Street. And they succeed magnificently, in a considered, beautifully nuanced performance by Mark Pinkosh of a wonderfully witty text by Godfrey Hamilton.
Pinkosh's delivery bristles with energy – and fury when required. His recollections of pivotal moments in gay history – the report that recommended decriminalisation as long as those homosexuals weren't too ostentatious about things (as if); the riot at a Los Angeles lesbian bar that kicked off today's movement – are as funny as they are revealing, and he has some fantastic one-liners. His seemingly endless, tongue-in-cheek list of everything that homosexuals have to learn (from show tunes to the private lives of pop divas) proves his assertion that it's hard work being gay.
But despite the humour – and there's plenty of that – there are serious themes underpinning this grown-up, carefully crafted show, themes of continuing petty discrimination and, above all, the crucial need to stay angry. This is a compelling hour of provocative theatre, as funny and life-affirming as it is justly outraged.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug (not 14), 11.15am, £8–£10 (£7–£9).