Review: 5 Guys Chillin’

King’s Head Theatre and Em Lou Productions
Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh, 7 – 27 Aug

3 Stars (3 / 5)

Following highly acclaimed, sell-out performances in Dublin, New York, Sydney and London, 5 Guys Chillin’ returns to the Edinburgh Fringe for a second year. With sexually transmitted infections, drug addiction and crime becoming more pertinent issues, this verbatim show shatters the outsider’s impression of gay relationships and brings audiences straight into the world of chemsex through the premise of five guys chilling together in someone’s living room.

The words spoken are taken from real men found on Grindr, and as such are deeply revealing and riveting. But whether due to or in spite of the piece being verbatim, the staging seems rather contrived and seems to be a poor mechanism with which to piece the choppy dialogue together. There is rarely a moment where an actor seems fully connected to the words he utters. Moreover, apart from George Bull’s character’s confession, the 70-minute show is rather flat and drags on, hence making the ending rather abrupt.

5 Guys Chillin’ does not impose judgement but presents various perspectives of this lifestyle for viewers to consider. Ultimately, its place in the theatre is truly necessary and reflects the power of the performing arts in sharing, bridging and revealing worlds.