My Night With Reg by Kevin Elyot is somewhat of a relic, a play about the plague years of the AIDS epidemic structured like a drawing room comedy of an even earlier era.
Set in the middle class living room apartment of Guy, My Night With Reg centres on the satellites of serial seducer, Reg, uber slut and unrequited object of desire for Guy. Seems almost everyone has had sex with root rat, Reg, except Guy, a regret tinged with relief, as the infections inflict fatal carnage on the community.
As Reg succumbs to the virus, his flamboyant lover, Daniel, airs his suspicions about Reg’s extra relationships with assembled mourners, specifically vanity vapid, John, a kind of Old Etonian Joe Buck. Suspicions also simmer in Bernie regarding his lover Benny, a bona fide rough trade roving eye bonkmeister.
Elyot’s script alludes to a rendezvous between Reg and John at an arthouse cinema and the screening of a French film where people sit around talking and that’s what you get with this play – the pitter patter of prattling in a Cowardesque casing where everyone appears to be mad about the boy.
James Gordon as the bland blond beefcake, John, plays him as a puerile, preening peacock, a Dorian Grey gay. Guy, the careful queer, scared into celibacy by the AIDS scourge is portrayed with affable reserve and endearing bemusement by John-Paul Santucci. Daniel, Reg’s lover is playfully played in Freddy Mercury mercurial manifestation by Steven Ljubovic with quintessential camp complete with killer queen badinage and bon mots to boot.
Nick Curnow and Steve Cormer play the carping couple, Bernie and Benny, contrasting the rough with the smooth, the settled and the unsettling. As Eric, the young house painter with ambitions of becoming a policeman, Michael Brindley’s portrayal as the innocent amongst the older jaded men jangled by the epidemic, is a beacon of hope for the future.
Tom Bannerman’s stylish, svelte set with slanted skylight streaked with rain contributes to “the tears of heaven” melancholy, Sallyanne Facer’s costumes are shaded and graded for character and period, and Michael Huxley’s sound design is both practical and nuanced.
Directed by Alice Livingstone, My Night With Reg has a little bit of extra nostalgia built in as Assistant Director, Peter Flett, was co-producer and played Daniel in the original Sydney production of the play 21 years ago.
A nifty 95 minutes makes My Night With Reg a night to remember.
New Theatre in association with the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras presents
My Night With Reg
by Kevin Elyot
Director Alice Livingstone
Venue: Name | Address
Dates: 5 February – 9 March 2019
Tickets: $35 – $30