Between 2006 and 2008, the ground floor of the building at the corner of Dean Street and Old Compton Street was occupied by the Dirty White Boy clothes shop.
During that time, the owner of the shop, Clayton Littlewood, regularly sat on his little red chair in the window and wrote about the people who had visited during the day. This diary first found its way onto MySpace as a blog, then became a book and is now coming to the stage of the Trafalgar Studios for our relish.
As you would expect from a play about Soho, it shows the usual gallery of colourful chancers (the old queen, the former drag queen or the big-mouthed transexual), all superbly brought to life by David Benson, who puts on the accents and personalities as easily as the costumes.
There is, also, of course, a shirtless pretty boy. Here, that task is given to Your Country Needs You runner-up, Alexis Gerred, whose contribution is to sing throughout the evening.
Sadly those interruptions bring very little to the play. This feeling is not helped by Gerred's performance, which is incongruously miked for such an intimate space. He gives about as much warmth to his renditions as a Dirty White Boy thong would provide on a wet morning and his voice, on the night we saw him, was at times as meloduous as that of a local barrowboy.
At the opening, Littlewood, who was the author of the Soho Stories in the defunct londonpaper, warns us that he is no actor. He isn't but his is the un-sophistication of authenticity. He has met and befriended all those characters and he is the one introducing them to us.
There is, on the surface, nothing very original about this play but it remains a very moving, funny and entertaining stroll through a gallery of highly endearing characters. It reminds us of both the transience and perennity of life and human aspirations and emotions. A hymn to the beloved and ruthless palimpsest that is Soho.