Review: 46 Beacon at Trafalgar Studios 2
A gay coming-of-age drama set in a Boston hotel room in 1970
13 April, 2017 — By Sipora Levy
Jay Taylor and Oliver Coopersmith in 46 Beacon. Photo: Peter Le May
Bill Rosenfield’s coming of age two-hander is a gentle, well-intentioned play about sexual initiation. Set in a specific time the evening of July 8, 1970, and place – a room at The Beacon Hotel in Boston – it is semi-autobiographical and told by its two protagonists, who both look back on that experience.
Jay Taylor plays Robert, an English actor transplanted to Boston when his career and relationship in England hit crisis point. Robert is knowing, experienced, confident and faintly cynical. Alan, played by Oliver Coopersmith, is, on the other hand, very young, inexperienced and naïve. Interestingly, neither of them is honest about his age. While at first it appears that Robert might be taking advantage of Alan’s youth, it transpires that Alan is cunning in his own way.
The dialogue is witty and perceptive and the two actors are well cast. Taylor effortlessly communicates his character’s urbane, world-weary charm, while Coopersmith is good at conveying Alan’s gauche nervous confusion.
Although the characters are totally believable there is, unfortunately, not enough dramatic tension or plot revelation to drive the play, and at 90 minutes it feels too long.
Rosenfield wants us to believe that this brief encounter had huge significance for both characters. However, this is hard to believe, and the evening therefore, is ultimately disappointing.
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