REVIEW | JOCK NIGHT AT SEVEN DIALS PLAYHOUSE
AD | GIFTED - tickets gifted in return of honest review
Tw/Cw - Jock Night contains Strong language, drug use, sexual scenes
On Thursday the 12th of October I was invited to the press night of Hive North’s Jock Night at Seven Dials Playhouse, London. Jock Night was back with a two-act version after the successful one hour long version in 2019, this sharp witted and sensitive play looks into the world of the LGBTQ+ community and what it can be like behind closed doors.
Jock Night follows Ben and the boys that surround him, Kam, Russell, AJ and Simon/Hunter and over a year that all five of them have in Manchester's gay village.
The show tackles themes such as drug usage, suicide, and some of the impact within the gay community, not all of us are aware of or have to deal with. The show fills you with the knowledge of what you don’t see within the public eye and helps you have a greater understanding of the community as a whole.
My initial thoughts of going into the show was that the show is described as presenting itself in a funny way, how would the writing tackle some important and sensitive messages and explicit scenes, but making sure it showed the importance of balancing funny lines and those messages. Also, actually what would I take from the show to educate myself more about the community.
Jock Night runs at 2 hours including one interval. Like always, my reviews are 100% honest and I will always justify my ratings, thoughts and feelings, always giving constructive feedback and my opinions are my own.
Written & Directed by Adam Zane, Adam gives an honest look through the script by giving gritty dialogue and comedic lines, like the little easter eggs in the show for all the Coronation Street fans, which are made funny by the characters. Adam has created characters that are believable and gives them all an individual voice. All the characters have different personalities and have different things to say, but throughout the writing shows the amazing family connection, which Adam shows with witty lines, but with heartfelt meaning. With the subject matters at hand, Adam presents them carefully and effectively to give an educational view point.
With direction by Adam , he directs with purpose showing all connections and relationships between characters really well. Obviously Jock Night was stated to have sexual scenes, we see sex scenes in films etc, but how Adam directs/choreographs the scenes, was handled in the best way possible and with a lot of laughter. All in all Adam Zane writes and directs with open arms inviting us to join the characters on a funny, sad, but eye opening ride throughout.
With a cast of five on stage, all do an amazing job, collectively all bringing this show together.
David Paisley plays Ben, Ben feels like the head of the group, bringing all the different characters together. David delivers dialogue purely and effectively, by showing the sensitive side of the character, and being the oldest one of the group, showing how life has changed from staying in with his previous partner, to then making sure every weekend was a big weekend out (and in). For me one of the lines that really stuck out from David’s character was when he said at the end that “he holds my hand in the street”, showing how much that meant to him.
Kam played Sam Goodchild, who is funny and protective to the family. Sam’s character struggles with addiction but masks this with humour. Sam’s character has some of the funniest lines in the show (mostly about Corrie) and delivers them with such comedy timing, even if you don’t know the Corrie reference it made you laugh. Sam definitely made us laugh, but how he disguised how he really felt, was brilliant, which made the ending hit harder.
AJ played by Levi Payne, you see this character grow through the show, as a young, slightly more innocent character, then becoming a key part of Ben’s life. Levi brought this character to life, and being from Yorkshire, found the references to Doncaster funny. David and Levi had great chemistry on stage.
Simon / Hunter played by George Hughes, on first meeting this character George played Simon as someone who was going to be a great match for Ben, but seeing Ben’s character change towards his family, maybe not a match after all. George really showed his two sides to his character really well, Simon / Hunter, and again addressed the challenges of addiction and how it didn’t just impact him, but the people around him.
Russell, played by Matthew Gent, was meant to be the character in the group who wasn’t as bright as the others shall we say. Matthew also delivered great comedy timing, especially when interacting with Sam’s character Kam. Russell showed us you should never hold back how you feel and tell that person before it is too late. Watch out for one scene involving a ring, I guarantee you will be laughing out loud.
Dick Longdin provides a simple but effective set, that made you feel you were a fly on the wall. It didn’t over complicate, simple changes as the year went on provided realism and understanding of movement of time throughout the show. Lighting Design by David Clare, worked really well with the set, it was natural, again adding to the realism of the set. Good use of the dimming of the lights, when moving through the year helped guide the audience through.
Jock Night promises to deliver a provocative comedy drama about contemporary gay life, love and relationships and it does just that. The way it handles the sensitive themes, but keeps you laughing throughout and also educating at the same time is exceptional. The show is focused on the LGBTQ+ community, but doesn’t stop anyone from going and enjoying a sharp witted, smart show with a talented cast.
This funny, but insightful play will leave you feeling like you have been on a roller coaster of emotions, so go and join the characters on a funny, sad, but eye opening ride.