A gay romance with a happy ending, interspersed with gems from Hollywood musicals – what’s not to like ?
At 6 years old Sam Harrison sat down with his rugby-playing dad in Australia to watch the dvd of Barbra Streisand in Hello Dolly – Sam was entranced ; he watched it every weekend for 3 years! And it changed his life.
So begins his gay love story with show tunes which makes for a totally engaging evening in the theatre.
Sam, who is both actor and playwright, has a basic premise : that gays depicted in shows are usually unhappy, unfulfilled, or doomed to failure and even death. But what he has created under Jason Morell’s sensitive and deft direction is not some anodyne piece of naivety .
There is teenage angst , guilt, shame , confusion , but ultimately fulfilment in its densely-packed 75 minutes. As in all the musicals which Sam so adores, the clever use of songs highlights the action and comments, often ironically , upon it, taking the narrative to new places we didn’t expect.
And if you like show tunes, he’s included some pure gems, from “ It Only Takes A Moment” through “ There will Never be Another You “ to “ I Got Rhythm “ and “ The Man I Love “.
Playing the many loves in Sam’s life , David Seadon-Young is enchanting – at times shy and unsure, at others, gruff, butch and athletic- and deliciously funny as Sam’s liberal-minded mum.
Sam told me when i chatted to him exclusively for Gscene some weeks ago that he had set himself the challenge of writing a show about a young gay man where the love story didn’t end in tragedy . And he’s done it in spades. Sam faces challenges, doubts and fears, but he also meets joy, passion and romance.
The show shines light on the need we all have for love – and does it tenderly and brilliantly. Sam, playing himself , is agile, sometimes frenetic , but mostly with a smile that endears us to him. His light , pure singing register – un-amplified – is a joy to listen to. David his acting partner is no mean singer and dancer either and the two go perfectly together .
Please, please , someone take on this show and bring it to a future Brighton Fringe . It’s a magical treat.
Love Is Only Love was at the Minerva studio, Chichester.
A full-length interview feature with Sam is in February’s Gscene magazine
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