Based on the 2009 film Humpday, Straight tells the story of former University friends Lewis and Waldorf who are reunited after seven years. Lewis has settled down with wife Morgan, whilst Waldorf has been on a hedonistic journey exploring Asia.
Lewis’ stable, predictable existence with Morgan is juxtaposed by Waldorf’s liberal lifestyle. Lewis is desperate to prove he is not sexually inhibited or past-it, so on a raucous night-out with Waldorf and his porn-star friend Steph, the two boys make a vow to record a gay porn video together. Whilst confessing his intentions to Morgan, Lewis discovers that she herself has skeletons in the closet and their seemingly blissful relationship is not all it seems.
Morgan Jessica Ransom and Lewis Henry Pettigrew, are so comfortable with each other that they openly discuss their bowel movements and the urgency of getting the extractor fan to work after such bathroom visits. This relaxed and natural performance, particularly in the intimate confinements of the Studio Theatre, made my observation feel slightly voyeuristic; particularly the attempted sex scene which took place beneath my tier of seats meaning that I was forced to effectively bend over for a good look at the proceedings.
Speaking of sex, I would very much recommend going to see Straight with a friend or partner rather than a close family member. The theatre does indicate that the performance contains adult content and scenes of a sexual nature, but I am glad that I was not sat next to my Gran when the two men mock-masturbated in only their boxer shorts and discussed various types of lubricant.
Two sets are used; one pre and one post interval. The first is the couple’s short-on-space flat, the second the lavish hotel room booked for the boys’ dirty deed. Legendary Director Richard Wilson, of Victor Meldrew fame, has worked DC Moore’s already hilarious script into a natural, energetic performance with expert comedy timing that appears effortless to this talented cast. At times I forgot I was in the theatre, as I felt as though I were snooping through someone’s letterbox (not unlike Waldorf’s obscene entrance) or peering like a peeping-Tom through a hotel room keyhole.
The title Straight is suggestive not only of Lewis’ sexual curiosity and exploration with a male friend, but also the seemingly mundane, domestic life he shares with Morgan. It is a poignant reflection on long-term relationships, the danger of monotony and boredom but also the potential for forgiveness and starting anew after betrayal and hurt. It is also a celebration of all sexualities, and the blurry lines that can form between friendship and intimate relationships regardless of gender.
In short, Straight is a gregarious, flirtatious romp. As corny as it sounds, I have kept thinking about the characters today; such is their vivacity and colour. I might have to visit them again…
Straight will run at The Studio theatre until 24 November, before transferring to the Bush Theatre in London (from 27 November to 22 December)