Coming clean is an exquisitely acted play that dances around the issues of open relationships. While it was written in 1987, it couldn’t be more relevant to today’s society among the gay scene. To quote a line from the show: “infidelity is inevitable”, so why must we suffer under monogamy, instead let’s satisfy our “libido” and commit to open relationships. Coming Clean explores this notion through Gregg and Tony’s relationship. As the open relationship starts to crack, all the secrets come out with it.
The four actors all represent a different persona that is equally humorous and captivating. Tony (played by Lee Knight) is the typical pretty boy whose extroversion is charismatic. Then William (played by Elliot Hadley) is the ‘Queen’ of them all and is one step away from a drag queen. He emulates tonnes of energy as soon as he enters the scene. Greg (Stanton Plummer- Cambridge) is a strong yet quiet presence. He is deeply striking with his New York accent. Then the young Robert (Jonah Rzeskiewicz) is naive and sweetly tentative. Kevin Elyot has written these characters beautifully, for them all to contrast greatly but slot into each other so well.
What Coming Clean does so well, is to address the issue of monogamy and gay male relationships without actually talking about them. The backdrop is set and the audience know exactly what the struggles Tony and Greg are facing, but it’s not pointed out. Instead the scenes are comical and earnest, presenting every day conversations over coffee. This is much more authentic and representative of real life. Only by the second half does the real brunt of the matter appear and this scene is captivating to watch, as you see all that’s been unsaid get spoken. The whole show plays around with paradoxical scenes; it all appears cheerful but there is an under current of suffering and the suppression of these emotions is what makes it so fascinating. This is particularly true of William’s scene, which is compellingly powerful.
Coming Clean is a humorous adult show that really explores ideas of open relationships. With fantastic actors and an exquisite script, it’s hard not to leave the theatre giggling and thinking with delight.