69 Shades of Gay (4 stars)

69 Shades of Gay

credit: Little Red Foxes

Filth and pathos abound in sparkling one-man show

Decluttering a living room is one thing – emotional decluttering brings a whole new set of problems. Struggling actor Aiden (Gary Lamont) is the owner of a sofa with tell-tale stains, a gobby BFF Shelly who's increasingly jealous of his active sex life, and a somewhat bruised heart. Lamont's meta monologue, written with generosity and spiky one-liners by Stuart Thomas, may begin by referencing golden showers, but it's the tears of shame that are proving much harder to scrub off.

The writing is as mired in 3am sweaty introspection as 10pm hook-ups on Grindr. It's during the former in which the bravado slips, and the hero finds himself older, now alone with flat beer and Pot Noodles, wondering where his life went. Aiden is going through the numbers in his phone to see if he can move on, but his tendency to romanticise the past seems to be hampering his choices.

Addressing the audience as pals throughout, plus an unseen upstairs neighbour, the fourth wall is broken with impunity. There is the unpredictable energy of stand-up comedy at times, which invites a few heckles. The immensely likeable Lamont is a great fit as Aiden – an amalgamation of many gay men tiring of the scene – prone to a filthy overshare or three; judging his life through the prism of Adele songs and unable to get Chad, a jazz musician off his mind. 'He played the bass clarinet', he sighs. 'Whit an instrument – as if a Gregg's sausage roll could talk'. If only his new would-be partner Marcus would stick around longer than the time it takes to receive a text message. It's the combination of bonhomie and vulnerability, plus some gorgeously sung gay anthems, that make 69 Shades so endearing. A cheeky little number with a fine vintage.

Oran Mor, Glasgow 10–18 Feb.

69 Shades of Gay

Raunchy new comedy from award-winning writer Stuart Thomas and starring Gary Lamont.

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