REVIEW: ‘F*cking Men’ at Waterloo East Theatre

Brian Butler April 24, 2024

Joe DiPietro’s F*cking Men ends with an ensemble line: “you’ll meet someone else,” and that’s the theme of this electrifying 90 mins of erotic, thoughtful, challenging theatre.

It’s a modern version of the classic 19th century play La Ronde. Four actors play 10 gay men and each scene involves two of the characters. As the original title suggests, this is a circular storyline and we end where we began, more or less.

As each scene is a micro drama, the attraction is guessing who will be with who next and what will happen. We’re never disappointed.

First off is straight-ish marine Steve (Jason Eddy), who has his first queer encounter with buff street sex worker John (Rory Connolly). It’s a tense opener. With violence, shame and regret, but we kinda know the marine will be back.

Scene two is some while later and the marine gets off with an almost silent guy in the gym sauna. Marco (Joe Bishop) is a tutor who confides that he can only now have sex with his boyfriend by imagining the partner is someone else.

Moving on we see Marco trying to give a spoilt little rich boy Kyle, (Rory Connolly again), a lesson of some kind. Bishop is great as the tight-lipped, tight-arsed teacher who fears Kyle may be under 18. “ Wanna see my passport?” Asks Kyle, – “ well, yes, if it’s handy,” Marco replies.

Turns out Marco and boyfriend fool around but don’t talk about it. And so the sexual merry go round continues, and the question we get is: “are we meant to have sex with the same person all our life, over and over?”

David Michaels doubles as a rich financier and a top-rated TV interviewer. Rory Connolly returns as a super confident porn star, and Joe Bishop is a delightfully camp but ultimately badly treated playwright who tries to publicly shame Jason Eddy’s new role as an English Oscar-nominated and closeted film star. 

I may even have got some of that wrong as the play proceeds at a dizzying pace! 

All four actors brilliantly delineate the different characters by costume, voice and physicality – not a single weak link here. 

It’s a morality play about lies, deceit, monogamy, love and romance, and its heart-rending final scene will make you cry with its honesty, truth and happiness. 

Steven Kunis directs with tautness, good taste and a good deal of wry humour, and Cara Evans’ set is a clever joy to behold – six perspex panels that double as swinging doors to bedroom, sauna, apartment, and a circular bed where all the erotic action takes place. 

There is nudity galore and lots of simulated sex, but it never seems gratuitous.

It’s five-stars entertainment. Catch it if you can. It plays at Waterloo East Theatre until 26 May. Tickets HERE