Boozy Lunches And The Sex Lives Of Older Gay Men
Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆
Why do we go to the theatre? In the case of Told Look Younger, a new comedy from writer Stephen Wyatt, it’s not for drama or suspension of belief. Three gay men in their sixties tell of their turbulent love lives — invariably involving younger men — over the course of several lunches. In the unpretentious Jermyn Street Theatre, a former restaurant itself back in the 1930s, we’re invited to sit down with them and eavesdrop on their natterings.
The evening gradually unravels the stereotypes they might at first present. Jeremy (Michael Garner), a top estate agent whose fluttering eyelashes belie his ability to savagely insult, has his pick of ‘fuck pads’, never mind that he’s in a 30-year-long relationship. Oliver (Robin Hooper), is the opposite, a moleish academic who seems more interested in his life's work on Cardinal Newman than men, until we find out he has his own messy issues. Colin (Christopher Hunter) is perhaps the most self-aware of the three, a 60-something married to a 20-year-old Turkish air steward, he is fully cognisant that passion might be a thin foundation for lasting love. But while they might joke about the opportunities afforded to themselves as older men, magnets for young guys, it's intimacy and companionship rather than sex that remains the elusive goal. While life offers them sex, they will take it, reinforcing the stereotype. But it’s a role they are presented as trapped by rather than revelling in.
It’s watchable and absorbing, as though we really are a fly on the wall of a conversation we’d never normally hear. The only thing that jolted us out of this experience was the waiter who at each lunch appears as a different version of gay: from macho surly to transvestite (a bit heavy-handed). Also, the wine looked distinctly like water and it's a vital part of the lunch as the fuel for letting barriers down. Otherwise this was a subtly moving evening. It may start as three old queens meeting for lunch, but ends up being a very human and universal portrayal of what love is, as seen through the experienced eyes of an older generation.
Last Updated 17 June 2015