Free and Proud, 3 Stars

Free and Proud
Assembly George Square, Studio Four
14:55

“Hakeem is Nigerian in America. Jeremy is white and privileged. When disaster hits, they journey into the past to make sense of the present. A searing exploration of a modern marriage from a multi award-winning company. Derek Award for Best Overseas Play (for The Waiting Game). ‘A stunning piece of art’ ***** (Daily Business Magazine on The Waiting Game). Brighton Fringe Award, Dublin International Gay Theatre Award, Scottish Sun Best LGBT Play Award (for 5 Guys Chillin’). ‘A compelling piece of new American writing’ (ThreeWeeks on The Waiting Game). ‘Theatre for grown-ups’ ***** (BroadwayBaby.com on Mysterious Skin).”

Review by Richard Lambert, 3 Stars

Free and Proud is a 2-hander play about a New York gay couple. The cast are brilliant but unfortunately there isn’t that much of a plot within this play. As a couple, they have their struggles but with the majority of the script being recounted reported speech and minimal actor interaction the play is constructed in such a way that it lacks punch. I’d have liked to see the events unfold before me in real time and not hear about them in the form of a newscast.

2 chairs are the set and a Soundscape suggests atmosphere or location. It’s a dream of a play for fast turn-arounds on a Fringe Festival circuit. The marketing poster shows 2 men in bed, one of them shirtless, which will no doubt help sell tickets. However the action is 100% sanitised – the boys hardly touch and certainly don’t get their shirts off and there isn’t a bed! Possibly a little over-selling of what to expect going on here.
It’s well lit to isolate the action or combine the actors signifying time of day. It’s cued well, directed well and acted well. The script construction does not do the team any favours.
The message behind the play is heart-felt…..appreciate what you have because one day it may no longer be there.
Written by Charles Gershman
Directed by Peter Darney
Cast
Faaiz Mbelizi – Hakeem
Michael Gilbert – Jeremy
Sherry Coenen – Lighting
Nicola Chang – Sound and Music
Jess Tuckjer Boyd – Movement
Uju Enendu – Dramaturgy
Laura Horton – PR
@freeproudplay
freeandproudplay.com

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