Remaining time: 

REVIEW: My Night With Reg, The Loud Did Seem To Fa-a-ade

Hastie’s production was met with critical acclaim at the Donmar Warehouse last year and has since enjoyed a West End transfer to the Apollo Theatre. Set in the 1980s in the midst of the AIDS crisis, My Night With Reg follows the lives of six mismatched friends within London’s gay community desperately trying to enjoy life in the face of persistent fear and tragedy.


The production is undeniably of commendable quality, though the play itself seems aged and perhaps uncomfortably out of place in 2015. The abundance of crude innuendos, for example, lends to the play’s feeling unsuitably farcical at times, while the horrors of the AIDS epidemic thankfully have much less a presence in today’s London.

We are immediately presented with Peter McKintosh’s detailed set: a to-scale living room set alone in the middle of the Apollo’s stage, the remainder of which being only bare blue walls. This setup appears somewhat odd, with the entire performance taking place within the confines of a room dwarfed by a sea of blue dead space - in fact I must admit that at one point I was wondering whether this was to signify that the men were actually trapped in some form of purgatory. The room itself is, however, as warm and wonderfully detailed as you would expect stylish Guy’s (Jonathan Broadbent) living space to be. No part of the room is neglected either, with every component down to the magazine bin made use of at some point in a bid by Hastie to not create any more dead space.

The play seeks to explore the artful complexities of the six characters’ friendship; their strong love for one another, though with questionable loyalties, and their inherent loneliness. And it does so rather well - particularly in its examining of the intricacies of Bennie (Matt Bardock) and Bernie’s (Richard Cant) fascinatingly turbulent relationship. The inevitable and numerous clashes between Bardock’s boisterous hard man and Cant’s dreary, sensitive soul prove a noted source of laughter in the audience. The pair provide more than comedy value, though, often making for a sobering reminder of the underlying tragedies in their respective lies. 

Julian Ovenden as John and Geoffrey Streatfeild as Daniel create a beautiful case study for poisoned friendships, the duo’s own defined by its paradoxical combination of loyalty and betrayal that is most apparently realised in their bittersweet rendition of David Bowie’s Starman. 

As the story progresses, each of the men, even including young hired decorator Eric (in a solid performance by Lewis Reeves), share a dark secret with Guy that links each of them to the faceless Reg. Here, the play is almost overly farcical, and paired with the relentless innuendos and toilet humour, becomes markedly unbalanced, diluting the otherwise meticulously-crafted relationships between the characters. 

Overall My Night With Reg is a marvellously produced and fantastically acted show, though it suffers from dated humour that only serves to dampen such strengths.

My Night With Reg review: ★★★☆☆

Brad St.Ledger 

Related news

Do you want to meet the cast of Admissions at Trafalgar Studios? Here's how...

Posted on | By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels |

Being admitted into your dream uni may be a highly competitive and stressful affair, but landing special offer ticket... Read more

London Theatre Review: Admissions at London's Trafalgar Studios

Posted on | By Sandra Howell |

It’s so unfair living in a society which privileges rich and middle-class white people, right? So what to do? D... Read more

Perfect Gifts for Mum this Mother's Day

Posted on | By Jade Ali |

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and you’re probably scrambling to treat your mum to something special an... Read more

Follow us for instant updates and special offers

Sign up to our mailing list and be the first to hear about new West End shows and exclusive ticket discounts. We value your privacy. You can unsubscribe at any time. But we hope you won’t!