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Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Three stars

The question mark is everything in the title of Caryl Churchill's 2006 play, in which two gay lovers take on the world they might just be running. Not that anything is made too explicit here in a punishing forty-five minute ride around the psycho-sexual impetus behind the desperate need for power enough to shore up a void of self-loathing and a terror of anything resembling affection.

As Kevin Lennon's Sam and Sandy Grierson's Guy swagger around the Citizens' Circle Studio while the audience enter to a minimal techno soundtrack and bathed beneath swirling spotlights, this is certainly the case with Sam's more aggressive half of the partnership. Necking beer too fast and with a punchbag hanging within reach, he is the boss, and is clearly in charge of the punishment that is doled out to help keep him there, be it in Vietnam or any other war that blew up in his face. Guy is more passive, a too eager to please civil servant who knows how to make things happen, but whose devoted lust for his other half has left him needy and pathetic.

Nora Wardell's explosive little production takes an already symbol-laden text concerning the private habits of queen and country and loads it with even more up-to-date imagery. If previously its Two Tribes style combatants were George and Tony, here think Donand and, well, you choose. “It's exhausting being so thrilled,” says Guy at one point, high on his own world-changing experience in a relentless battle royal that leaves both men emasculated, impotent and the ultimate losers of an endless war of words. Sad.


The Herald, March 31st 2017

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