KISS AND TELL
A 95 minute stage
play by Ritchie Smith
Monday night and off
to the Horse and Groom to players and Playwrights weekly extravaganza.
This weeks offering is by Ritchie (who wrote Robson green's Rocket Man).
It was described as "This Life" plus Ibsen, now personally I
like Ibsen because I enjoy good writing I don't however hold his world
view (Life's a Bitch and then you die).
The play concerned the lives of four characters (three living one ghost?),
the main two and the secondary are your basic insecure, self absorbed
looking for love/ to belong, constantly messing it up types, Beth an ambitious
worker for an aids relief charity and Jake a "writer" trying
to sell a script to Hollywood and living with (off?) Beth. The secondarys
are Tracy a journalist (and nymphomaniac/ introvert) and Ewan (the ghost/
hallucination) whose tragic life and death Jake is celebrating in his
The action starts with Beth preparing for an interview for a promotion
she desperately wants (she also wants to be a mother and wife before it's
too late). While Beth goes off to her I.V. Jake is being interviewed by
Tracy. For someone who pose's as a man who "Cares" about what
happens in the world Jake is eagerly looking forward to a decadent Hollywood
life style. Tracy is obviously as interested in Jakes body as his script
(Should have gone to spec savers); finally after several very obvious
hints she bluntly propositions him. Typical plastic stud he's intimidated
by a woman making the first move and cry's off.
Beth returns, despondent about not getting the job. Jake half heartedly
comfort and support her but (still fired up after his encounter with Tracy)
is really more interested in getting her into bed. Beth say's she's tired
but sounds like she could be woken up pretty easily. Beth also wants to
discuss them/her having a child, Jake avoids the issue (doesn't want commitment?)
by sticking to his own agenda. Beth goes to bed leaving Jake to contemplate
"the complexity of woman." Enter Ewan (ghost/hallucination?)
to console his old pal Jake.
What follows is basically a winge by Jake about women in general and Beth
in particular, Ewan (who earned his living by trading his company for
money and eventually became HIV positive and met Jake in a homeless person's
hostel) counters with his own
Encounters "that's why I prefer bugery, you don't have to look at
their ugly red faces." Finally Jake goes to bed un-comforted.
Jake, having successfully sold his play to "Tinsel Town" is
at a posh hotel finalizing the deal where he bumps into Tracy. She asks
for another interview and they go to the bar. Tracy again proposition's
Jake "let's get a room." and this time he succumbs.
Beth has at last (or so she thinks) convinced Jake that they should try
for a baby. So we find ourselves in a clinic where both Jake and Beth
have just started full spectrum check ups. Enter Tracy (from consulting
room) in tears, Jake try's not to be there but she spots him. Jake now
just wants out and starts row with Beth, who storms off (having told Jake
to F--- off )
A solitary Jake (now HIV Pos, as is Beth) is again consoled by the sprit
of Ewan, who figures it's a shame I'm dead and you're dieing but well
it was fun while it lasted.
Tracy, convinced that she's gone from being "god's gift to the male
libido" to becoming a total leper, is drowning her sorrows in a bar.
Spotting Jake (also HIV pos) doing the same she confronts him. After the
obligatory "you gave it to me" "no you gave it to me"
scenario, Tracy and Jake attempt to commiserate with each other but realy
just winge about what they've lost, (for Tracy the empowerment her sexual
adventures gave her, for Jake "this happening just as I was getting
Beth comes to visit Jake and after some prevarication that she's had a
fling with her mother dissolute "toy boy" who is probably the
source of the "plague". Jake goes ballistic "You went with
him HIM he who's shagged just about every whore in Africa????? Where do
you work? ". After listening to Jake rant on about the "agony
I've gone through thinking that I did that to you" (Oh yeah.), Beth
leaves and Jake proceeds to get newted and encounters Ewan for the final
time. Ewan is fairly unsympathetic "Well what do you expect given
your attitude to sex you think this only happens to people like me?"
Beth just given a
speech to conference on A.I.D.S. in Africa approaches Tracy (their first
meeting) after an embarrassing start she asks if Tracy will be her platform
to tell he world how little western governments realy do about research
into HIV. Tracy readily agrees but warns Beth that probably all she'll
get for her pains is a P.45.
Beth visits Jake
at his cottage and after awkward couple of minutes tells Jake that she
has been retested and found to be clear, and he must be clear too. After
some histrionics Jake suggests they have sex together once more for "old
times sake". Beth agrees then, Jake in an amazing about face start's
acting like a real man, he tells Beth that no they can't because he had
a second test too and is still positive. They embrace and Beth tells Jake
about the stand she's taking, he says he and Tracy will also stand up
and be counted.
Not a bad evening, the only unrealistic part being Beth's miraculous reprieve,
I mean she went with the toy boy who's still got it, with Jake after he
presumably got it from Tracy this is highly improbable. Still if you enjoy
good dialogue this one's for you.
See you next week.