The Chemsex Monologues
King’s Head Theatre
Opening Night – 23 March 2017
“the quest for hedonism with scant regard for the predictable consequences“
A man meets a mysterious stranger on a night out in Vauxhall; a sexy poster-boy gets taken to a chill-out by a porn star; a fag-hag named Cath is pushed to her limits at the party of the century; a sexual health worker struggles with the burden of community outreach.
Delivered as a series of interlinked monologues, Patrick Cash’s work takes a look at the ‘horny and high’ chemsex culture prevailing within some gay (and straight) cultures, in disturbing detail.
A near empty stage other than a neon light frame and a chair. In turn, a series of characters appear and tell us their story – each at first putting a positive spin on their situation; the highs, the hot sex, the immense euphoria …
Then the darkness. The reality. The play tackles the devastating effect chemsex can have. The dangers each of the users puts themselves in for their moment of ‘fun’. From unsafe sex to fatal overdoses, Chemsex Monologues highlights it all.
Other than Old Mother Meph (the odious host of the slam parties), the characters come across as fairly likeable everyday folk (other than all the men appear to have rock hard abs); the type of guys (and girl) you’d probably know – the type who lives for the weekend and to party!
But each character has their own flaws, drawn as with any addiction into a situation they rapidly lose control over. This is a tale of human of weakness at its extreme – the quest for hedonism with scant regard for the predictable consequences.
We’re given a very real insight into a darker world, but this has the potential to be much harder hitting. While the comedy character, safe sex worker Daniel is fun to watch (and nicely played by Matthew Hodson), is this the kind of piece that needs laughs? If Chemsex Monologues is meant as a cautionary tale, it doesn’t quite strike the right balance and needs a clearer message about the dangers.
You’ll probably come away knowing a few more drugs related expressions than before you went in, and you’ll certainly be moved but just not quite enough.
Photography by – Elliott Franks
Chemsex Monologues is at the King’s Head Theatre until 9th April. Tickets via: