Sam Brooks delivers a touching gay love story to fill your heart with Pride.
It’s hard not to over-hype the work of multi-award winning playwright Sam Brooks. One of his previous works Wine Lips is the only play I have ever watched that felt so real, for a brief moment I actually forgot I was watching theatre and not simply overhearing a conversation between two flawed exes who were saying goodbye. The key seems to lie in his dialogue which always feels genuine, personal and touching ensuring the same for his characters and their relationships with each other.
For Pride, he has previously produced Queen and Riding in Cars (with mainly Straight Boys) to critical acclaim and Twenty Eight Millimetres follows suit. It tells the love story of Justin (Dan Veint) and Ted (Geordie Holibar) who fall for each other when Justin vomits over Ted’s shirt at a party.
We follow the highs and lows of their relationship over the years, narrated and observed by Justin’s younger brother Ethan (Tim Earl). They learn about and compromise on each other’s family, social circles, wealth and health until a tragic twist changes everything.
As a love story (told through Ethan’s eyes) it is very straightforward. Justin is the character with depths and edges because he’s the one Ethan knows well. Ted, on the other hand, is presented with little more depth than a Disney ‘prince’, the nickname Justin bestows on him.
Ethan is also gay and seems to suffer Asperger’s – fixating on numbers, times and distances. This is a roll Tim Earl proved he could play in Case of the Curious Dog in the Night and smashes again here. The actors really get to shine as the post-twist act brings an emotional wallop, but Brooks’ tender writing has an uncanny knack for breaking your heart and then piecing it back together.
Twenty Eight Millimetres runs at the Basement Theatre until Saturday 17 Feb – go see it now!