Oskar Brown’s two-hander has a lot going for it: the actors – Brown and Nicholas Campbell – have the charisma and technical skill to absolutely engage the audience’s attention. The writing is sharp and delivers a pretty compelling hour of theatre. However, the subject matter is – to this jaded critic – not really breaking new ground. Its key relationships aren’t exactly cliched, but they are pretty familiar tropes of gay culture.
Brown plays a drama teacher whose life we see in the form of three relationships he has with a childhood friend, a lover, and a student. The play cuts from one scene to another so its fractured structure invites us to compare the relationships as they unfold over time. The first one, a fairly damaging one with a straight best friend which doesn’t end well, is presented as perhaps the key to other failures.
I don’t want to knock Between for not being radical enough. It’s undoubtedly a good play and has the occasional moment of unexpected sexual rawness which lifts it above crowd-pleasers like Beautiful Thing. Perhaps an hour isn’t really enough time to flesh out its three story lines. It’s a solid effort, and I’d certainly look forward to seeing something with a bit more depth should Brown come back for next year’s Fringe.
Continues at the Marlborough until Monday 27.