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Review: Coming Clean, at Trafalgar Studios

17 January, 2020 — By Emily Finch

Jonah Rzeskiewicz in Coming Clean. Photo: Ali Wright

A PLAY’S success can be judged by assessing the snack you brought in, once the actors take their final bow. If the forgotten packet of melted milk chocolate buttons is anything to go by, Coming Clean had me engrossed.

It’s a touching script from 1982 by Kevin Elyot (My Night with Reg) but feels relevant and fresh almost 40 years later.

At the play’s core is the relationship between successful American author Greg (Stanton Plummer-Cambridge) and his boyfriend of five years, Tony (Lee Knight), a not-so-successful writer. Both are in their 30s and live in a grubby flat in Kentish Town.

The couple’s relationship is put under strain when Tony enlists the help of actor-cum-cleaner Robert – played wonderfully by fresh Rada graduate Jonah Rzeskiewicz – to sort out the flat.

The play examines a universal theme: What does it mean to be in love?

We sit almost knee to knee with the actors – Studio 2 seats just 100 people – and are sucked into the play from the get-go. How close the audience is to the drama was brought home when one spectator accidentally got his head dusted to much amusement.

Further (intentional) comedy is brought into the flat through Tony’s best friend William (Elliot Hadley). There should be an award for the incredible faces he is able to pull while stuffing his face with pastries.

Hadley is the stand-out performer in Adam Spreadbury-Maher’s stellar production. His storyline becomes enmeshed in tragedy, at one poignant moment, and highlights the dangers gay men continue to face today.

Until February 1
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