REVIEW: Soho Boy, Space at Symposium Hall, Edinburgh Fringe ✭✭

Paul T Davies reviews Soho Boy at Symposium Hall at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Soho Boy

Soho Boy
Space at Symposium Hall
2 Stars
Book Tickets

This new musical by Paul Emellon Daly follows the story of Spencer, a young gay man in London who has hopes and dreams of finding success and, more importantly, a boyfriend. So far, so familiar. He gains a boyfriend, Johnny, who is into chemsex and the show then follows another familiar route. Whilst the dangers of chemsex are important to be told, London has had many a gay chemsex play over the years, and it now follows far too familiar tropes to be dramatically interesting.
I found the show to be all surface and no depth, perhaps because the hour long restriction means we don’t have time to get to know the characters. Recent Italia Conti graduate Owen Dennis started off a little nervously, and perhaps he needs more experience to really inhabit the character. In fairness, Spencer’s refusal to take part in chemsex is then reversed too easily, and his contraction of HIV is a serious message, but here feels cynical dramatically, our emotions attempting to be manipulated I don’t feel the emotional content is earned.
The music, apart from a drag Torch Song, which Dennis performs well, and the title song, is forgettable. The show runs smoothly technically and is very slick. A disappointment for me, as I could see there was much potential yet to be tapped.
August 7-13 and 15-27
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