Why is intimacy so hard? In the bedroom, when can drugs be a help and when a hindrance? How much should we reveal to a new partner? What new demons do today’s young gay men carry with them into relationships?
After the fun we had last month with My Dad’s Gap Year at the Park Theatre, I was delighted to reunite for another post-show discussion with playwright Tom Wright and director Rikki Beadle-Blair on their latest collaboration, the intimate two-hander Undetectable, which they started rehearsing just two days after My Dad’s Gap Year finished its run. Lucky then that, as Rikki says, these two new plays are like ‘siblings’ that complement each other well.
In Undetectable, Lex and Bradley (played by Freddie Hogan and Lewis Brown) have been taking it slow on their new relationship. After three months of getting to know each other and develop their feelings, it’s the night they finally want to consummate things. But first they must slay some personal demons, including the fact that one of them is HIV-positive. Should he tell?
The title refers to the success of anti-retroviral treatments in bringing the level of the AIDS virus so low that blood tests cannot detect it – and thus, the risk of passing on HIV is removed. But other drugs and their consequences also figure for Lex and Bradley in what’s billed as a “post-chemsex generation love story”.
For the post-show discussion, in addition to Tom, Rikki and Undetectable‘s two stars, we were joined by two special guests – Katherine Cox from Survivors UK, which provides support services for victims of male rape and sexual abuse, and Kayden Gray from Impulse London, which organises mental and sexual health events for the gay community – to discuss chemsex, HIV and other issues raised in the play.
The event was live-tweeted and live-streamed in conjunction with MyTheatreMates. Watch in full below.
— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) March 20, 2019
Event photography by Peter Jones.