Kevin Elyot’s Olivier Award-winning play ‘My Night with Reg’ comes to Birmingham

Catherine Muxworthy June 6, 2023

My Night with Reg – a play which explores the lives of gay men and the AIDS crisis during the 1980s – is coming to the Crescent Theatre, Birmingham in July. Birmingham-born, Kevin Elyot’s bitter-sweet play, which won both Olivier and Evening Standard awards, “defined a moment in the lives of gay men and became an instant classic on its premiere at the Royal Court and in the West End,” explains the Crescent website.

“At Guy’s flat, friends gather to party. But this is the summer of 1985 and for Guy and his circle the world is about to change forever. The years ahead and the AIDS crisis will soon take a terrible toll. Deliciously funny and bittersweet, Kevin Elyot’s Olivier and Evening Standard award-winning comedy defined a moment in the lives of gay men and captures the fragility of friendship, happiness and life itself.”

The production is directed by Rod Natkiel who was a friend of Kevin Elyot, having studied drama and acted with him. A press release from the Crescent Theatre explains: “My Night with Reg traces the story, from the summer of 1985, of six gay men in London as their world begins to unravel because of the AIDS epidemic. Three of the characters were at university together twelve years previously and those characters and their memories are strongly based on people and life at Bristol university in Kevin Elyot’s and Rod Natkiel’s time there as drama students.”

Rod Natkiel said: “It’s a little spooky not only to be 90% sure of who the real people were on whom the characters in the play are based, but also because of the memories that come flooding back through references and moments in the play. But the most important thing is that this is a masterfully crafted and thought-provoking play that causes havoc with an audience’s emotions as it bounces from heart-breaking tragedy to brilliant comedy. There are many moments that are outrageously funny and several others when it’s very, very hard not to cry.

“This is a play that, for many years, I’ve wanted to direct, not just because of my connection to Kevin Elyot and the friends reflected in the characters, though that is very important to me, but because I consider it a consummate piece of writing by a master of his craft. It tackles important themes which are perpetual and universal and it manages to punctuate moments of hilarity with stabs of acute pain. To do it justice demands a top class cast and team, and we have just that for this production. It is a great pleasure and privilege to be working with them.”

This production of My Night with Reg runs in the Ron Barber Studio of the Crescent Theatre, Birmingham from Saturday, July 8 to Saturday, July 15. Friday, July 14’s show will be followed by an After Dark session in which audience members will have an opportunity to meet members of the cast and creative team to discuss the production.

The show contains smoking, full nudity, scenes of sexual activity and language that some people may find offensive, and is, therefore, not recommended for audiences under the age of 16.

Tickets are available online now.