MiniReview: "My Night with Reg" by Kevin Elyot

Geoffrey Streatfeild as Daniel, Jonathan Broadbent as Guy, and Julian Ovenden as John in a 2014 revival at the Donmar Warehouse in London.


What is it?

It’s a play by British playwright Kevin Elyot, originally produced in London in 1994.


What’s it about?

The play is divided into three scenes, with a year or two between them. There are six characters, all gay men living in London in the 1980s. We glimpse their lives as they deal with the search for love, the hunger for sex, the challenges of commitment and betrayal, and the ever-present threat of AIDS.


Okay. That’s a bit vague, though, John. Like, who are these people? What are their problems?

Three of them are men in their thirties who knew one another at university, and have tried to stay in touch since then, as one (Daniel) has moved into a (somewhat) committed relationship, one (John) has continued to play the field, and the third (Guy) has mostly dealt with solitude. And then there’s a young bloke, Eric, who wishes people would see him as more than a pretty face and body. And Bernie and Benny, a slightly older couple who bicker.


Wait. What about Reg? Like, in the title?

Reg is Daniel’s lover, and he’s never seen but much discussed.


Right. This sounds . . . nice, but not necessarily thrilling.

This ain’t Angels in America. This is good theatre. A play about a pretty wide assortment of gay men trying, with varying degrees of success, to live their lives and find a measure of happiness. It’s a fine, mature, understated play.





Really? I was thinking you were heading for one star, if that.

This is an excellent play, with much to ponder! Like a lot of English plays, it’s a relatively “small” story, a personal story, but it contains within it a lot of complexity. It’s a play to read and reread—or, if you’re lucky, to see. It’s not about gay rights or anything like that; it’s about being gay. And it’s all about that. 

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