Let's start with the theatre. Now in its third iteration and certainly its most glamorous (if underneath the railway arches at Vauxhall can ever be described as glamorous), Above The Stag is the UK's only full-time, professional LGBT theatre. Since moving to its current premises last year, there are now two performance spaces and front of house facilities that would put some West End theatres to shame. [title of show] is performed in the smaller, studio space.
Originally a hit Off, Off Broadway and then on the Great White Way itself, [title of show] tells the story of Jeff (Jordan Fox) and Hunter (Michael Vinsen), aspiring musical theatre writers who are desperate to have a hit show. They decide to enter the New York Musical Theatre Festival. There's only one hitch. They don't have a show. With the help of friends Heidi (Kirby Hughes) and Susan (Natalie Williams), they workshop and develop a narrative of two friends writing a musical about two friends writing a musical.
The book has been cleverly and subtly brought up to date by Director Robert McWhir which serves the show well. The staging is prescriptively simple – four chairs and a piano – so I felt that, at times, the lighting design (Jack Weir) was a little too fussy. The set's simplicity means that the four performers have to sell the show. And boy, do they. Working brilliantly in unison and harmony when the script dictates, and shining individually when the moment is right, each member of the cast delivers beautiful, funny, touching performances based in truth and reality that complement one another throughout this joyful piece of theatre. Flawless. Catch it if you can.