Party Boy – Gay Theatre Festival – Review by Letizia Delmastro
Date/Time: 6,11 May @ 16:00; 6-11 May @ 19:30;
Venue: PLAYERS THEATRE @ Trinity College
Party Boy by Brian Merriman
Patrick, a young gay Irish man, is the star of Brian Merriman’s play “Party Boy”. Presented in the small, intimate space of the Players Theatre in Trinity College, the play takes the audience on a riveting journey through Patrick’s young life: and it’s all based on a true story.
The boy meets the scary spectre of homophobia from a very young age, spending the later years of his childhood exploring his sexuality in his first same-sex encounters. But soon Patrick’s heritage as a Catholic, gay, Irish boy comes knocking, and he finds himself presenting himself as straight. Episodes of traumatic bullying experiences in a Catholic school and his constant being harassed as “queer” force him into the closet.
Through it all, and able to see through the darkest of closets, stands Patrick’s mother. A no-nonsense strong woman, always available to listen to her young son’s needs, Maria Blaney brings on stage the Irish mammy we all wish we had.
Together with Colin Malone, the two actors provide great, entertaining support to Dave Flynn, taking on many different characters created with a simple prop or costume change, providing snippets into the rolling film of young Patrick’s life.
From Ireland to Australia and then back again: the sex is getting wilder and more available, his body is getting him a long way and he is riding the wave of the good life. But behind the flash and the –very in-your-face – live sex shows, a rot is starting to spread; drugs, alcohol and medicated sex. Gay men dying off like flies. Go-go boys dancing provocatively. Young Patrick’s life gives us all, especially for those who weren’t there to see it for themselves, an insight into what it meant to be gay in the early 2000s, and how important it is to be supported by your loved ones.
Patrick is one of the few that survived or avoided abusive relationships, AIDS, drug overdoses and falling into a desensitised and medicated life because of his life-buoy, his mother.
In an Ireland where homophobia still lurks on the streets, Patrick’s proud tale of his uninhibited life between sex, drugs and relentless loves is a cautionary tale (not to be taken too seriously!) for a young audience, a trip down memory lane for middle aged ones, and a great insight into what it means to be gay, to be sharing the life of the underground gay community and to instruct us all how it is, sometimes, good to just be a party boy.