Intense, overpowering and heartfelt – Homos, Or Everyone In America welcomes you to the intimate relationship of a gay couple in New York.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I entered the tiny Finborough Theatre and noticed that the entire space was covered with sand, nor when I was hit by the distinct smell of Lush bath bombs which decorated every corner of the room. However, I certainly wasn’t prepared for the hard-hitting love story that I was greeted with.
Homos centres around the story of a young gay couple living in New York, identified to the audience only as The Writer and The Academic. The play jumps through various points in their relationship, spanning from their first meeting, to their last, but not in any form of chronological order.
At first, I really struggled to grasp the story amongst the short snippets of scenes. I couldn’t understand the correlation of importance of each moment. However, as I learnt more about the characters, and understood their relationship better, the journey began to unfold and I was able to appreciate the raw and real relationship in front of me.
I felt that setting the story in the early 2000s allowed the piece to discuss the hardships of the LGBT+ community in the modern day. Quite often, a focus goes towards the movements of the past, such as the HIV/AIDS crisis, however I found it refreshing to hear a more modern voice and it allowed me to reflect on how attitudes have changed over the last 10 – 20 years.
The chemistry between the two men (The Writer – Harry McEntire, The Academic – Tyrone Huntley) was truly moving. They had a real presence when they performed and were very much in tune with each other, as well as the space around them.
Frequently throughout the piece, the characters would be “rewound” at the end of a scene, signalling to the audience that the timing of the next scene would be separate from the scene before. This often also involved the actors walking backwards around the set to mimic this change – which I thought was really impressive. The fact that they were able to do this with such speed and without looking behind them shows just how much preparation and thought went into this piece, it was brilliantly executed.
As for the smaller characters of Dan (Dan Krikler) and Laila (Cash Holland), they wove very neatly into the story, however it would have been nice to learn a little more about each of them. Compared with their counterparts, they felt much less developed but each had interesting traits to them. But while it would have been intriguing to learn more about them, I fully appreciated that the main focus of the piece was the relationship between The Writer and The Academic.
The lighting (Jess Bernberg) was wonderfully suited to each scene, and often had the habit of startling the audeince, by suddenly changing from dim warm lights to harsh overhead lights. They never felt out of place and suited each scene perfectly.
Although it initially took me a while to understand, I thought the story was very well written. All the dialogue felt genuine and it really breathed the life into the piece. One issue I faced was that the characters frequently had deep intellectual conversations, which whilst entertaining, were sometimes difficult to follow along with; especially when they were talking over each other, and left me as an audience member, feeling a lot less clever than the characters in front of me.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience that Homos, Or Everyone in America gave me. It was a unique piece and provides a valuable voice of gay men in America in the early 2000s.
By Emily Schofield
Homos, Or Everyone in America continues to play at the Finborough Theatre until the 1st September. For more information visit: https://www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk/productions/2018/homos.php