EdFringe 2022 Review: Let’s Try Gay

Let’s Try Gay centres on the lines of friendship crossing into something more intimate as i Birbanti theatre playfully explore at Edinburgh Fringe’s theSpaceUK’s Symposium Hall. Running until August 27th, Let’s Try Gay is an absorbing and believable account packed with naturalistic humour.

Jack and Phil are best friends who decide to create an ‘art project’ depicting two straight friends making a gay adult film. Soon this drunken idea becomes a reality as the pair meet to shoot in a hotel room, faced with the uncomfortable reality of their plan. The challenge of a hug or kiss soon becomes a stumbling block, with the pair soon delving into sharing deeper problems in this context of openness.

With a small bed set up the middle of the stage, the setting of cheap hotel room is immediately conjured. Jack and Phil meet, uncomfortably yet amusingly skirting around the reality of why they have met. Deciding to construct an introduction to their adult film, the humour immediately shines through, Jack and Phil clearly not naturals in the world of adult film or same sex romance. The intricate discussions of who will lead the kisses with tongue, which item of clothing will be removed and who will do what to who soon come into play – with the awkwardness of two straight men having these frank discussions resulting in a lot of laughs.

There is a natural chemistry between both actors, Jack and Phil shining as two believable friends. Amusingly they play with European stereotypes (French, Italians and a fun note about Scottish whisky are well chosen for the Fringe diverse multi-national audience), tease one another, and discuss memories of yesteryear. Both performers have a likeability and impressive sense of comic timing explored throughout Let’s Try Gay. Yet there is more to i Birbanti’s production than the awkwardness of two straight men.

The two-hander structure allows plenty of moments for Jack and Phil to reflect on the events that led up to this and delve into their relationship and past with romance, love and sex. Jack is struggling with his life as an artist, whilst Phil’s reflections on a former friendship of the past unveil some questions about labelling himself as truly “straight”. Some of the steam can be lost as Let’s Try Gay delves down this more emotional route, yet it is a welcome balance to the levity of the narrative’s more farce-centred moments.

Two fantastic comic performance from the cast of Let’s Try Gay help it shine as a tremendous comic treat as it navigates the strength of friendships and stigmatized attitudes to sex.

Let’s Try Gay runs until August 27th. You can get tickets here.

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