The Cock Tavern
Adrian Pagan sadly died at the age of 39 but not before writing for The Bill, Holby City and Family Affairs and winning the Verity Bargate Award in 1996 for his play The Backroom.
Set in the rest room and shop window area of a male brothel somewhere in Soho The Backroom is a piquant and saucy comedy populated by a gaggle of giggling queens, rough trade, squaddies and posh public schoolboys, all displayed for our titillation and of course for sale to any lonely man with the right money.
This is a lively and affectionate revival of Pagan’s play by director Gareth Corke who never allows it to drift into sentimentality or mere parody.
The characters are all very believable with very strong performances from all of the handsome cast; David Paisley is particularly credible and as the nervy and paranoid ‘Madam’ Gary who tries to enforce the house rules and stop the boys having affairs with each other, whilst knocking off a closeted football star himself. Neil Cunningham and Will Stokes are hilarious as the Britney and Kylie obsessed Craig and Madonna and their bitchy campery is nicely offset by Michael Parr’s butch ex-squaddie Paul, and muscle-mary Dallas played by Benedict Fogarty, both of whom give excellent performances.
The ‘love interest’ is provided by the relatively ‘straight’ acting and intelligent Sandy (Miles Mlambo) and the pretty ex public schoolboy Charlie sensitively played by Daniel Sharman. In the midst of all the sordid punters, degradation and general squalor these two attempt to have a real relationship, much to Gary’s annoyance and their battle to reconcile their professional and private lives is touchingly dealt with.
It looks like Good Night Out Productions and producer Adam Spreadbury Maher have a hit on their hands and London has an excellent new small venue in Kilburn.
- Keith Myers