My Night with Reg
The Storey Institute, Lancaster
Lancaster University Theatre Group is very good at staging theatre in new venues.
And here, their innovative use of the smaller, upstairs Gallery in The Storey CIC for this production was an unexpected treat.
An elegant, light and airy white rectangular box with a generous acoustic, this venue is eminently flexible. We’ve seen a good number of fine art shows presented in this place before now, and I have always been convinced that it would also make a superb space for chamber music.
The group’s choice of play this time was particularly bold.
My Night With Reg deals with an intimate circle of six gay male friends during the height of the AIDS/HIV crisis in the 1980s-1990s.
This was a time when there was understandable bewilderment and panic over the rapidly-increasing death rate of many people’s friends and acquaintances.
Author Kevin Eliot’s treatment of this contentious matter is, however, sensitively, acutely and elegantly written.
And co-directors Matthew Saint and Natasha Farnsworth’s production exactly mirrored these qualities, helped along greatly by some fine individual and ensemble work from the cast.
The middle-class, all-pervading ambience was crystal clear, and there was emotional sensitivity and caring amidst the bravado and outrageousness.
Indeed, this production even drew some palpable moments of emotion from the audience as the evening’s varied revelations revealed that, then as now, nothing is really as it seems in the mainstream and byways of love and lust.
by Michael Nunn