Sat above the Hope and Anchor pub in Islington is a sumptuous, red painted room with a double bed. It all looks very sexy and as the dashing Robert begins his monologue, he explains we’re right in the height of the sexy seventies- pre-AIDS crisis and still full of the free loving sixties vibe.
He’s an English actor, attempting to reignite his career on the stage in Boston, but in the opening introduction he insists this is not his story, but instead the ‘coming-out and coming-of age’ story of young theatre worker, Alan. He’s a young man full of boyish innocence and charm that’s intensely attractive to Robert, but as he attempts to help Alan learn more about himself and discover who he really is, Robert too joins him on the journey of self-discovery.
The setting of the hotel room at 46 Beacon is suitably intimate, where Robert’s naked wanderings seem fittingly comfortable and add to his air of self-assurance and confidence that he exudes to seduce his young boy. His technique provides brilliant moments of humour that I am sure resonated with many of the audience members hearing many a ‘knowing’ chuckle, including a slightly awkward foot massage.
Matthew Baldwin and Jak Ford-Lane have a wonderful onstage chemistry that’s endearing and heart-warming. At no point does it feel seedy, despite the age difference, even with Baldwin’s blue satin shirt! (Although with Jude Law’s killer jawline, to be honest he could wear anything!) Equally with many plays or stories following this similar plot, writer Bill Rosenfield keeps it punchy and fresh with great dialogue, partially the moments where Alan and Robert are learning about one another.
In the intimate space, the heat is intense not only in the room but between the two men and with mounting desire, by the time the climax is reached (pun intended) Alan’s immaturity really begins to show – is there more to one night flings?
Robert fills the voids in his life with lust and after Alan questions his actions, it’s apparent he has a lot to learn about the world but something strikes a chord with Robert and perhaps this wiser, older gentleman isn’t too late to learn something.
46 Beacon is an 85 minute sizzling encounter that marks an awakening for both characters. Full of humour and light-hearted enjoyment, Rosenfield offers a refreshing take that is ultimately sincere and warm.