With Stage Review’s editor, Anne Cox, still too traumatised from seeing the film as a teenager more than 40 years ago (yes, it’s true – ed), I was packed off, with nerves of steel and crucifix in pocket, into the pitch-black, creaking, dress circle of London’s Phoenix Theatre for The Exorcist.
Sadly, despite a few crisp one-liners and a catchy title I’m surprised was never used elsewhere, Twilight Song emerges as a frail Rattiganesque slice of sixties’ repressed sexuality contrasted with an awkward contemporary tryst between Adam Garcia’s cash-strapped estate-agent-turned-hustler and Paul Higgins’ desperate mothers’ boy.
Barry’s relationship with his mother is at best difficult, but as we delve into their family history it soon becomes clear the depth of resentment that Isabella has had for events that have taken place in her life such as the loss of a child and a distant (as it turns out gay) husband and her constant struggle to accept the way her life has turned out.
The premiere of Kevin Elyot’s final play, Twilight Song, in the 50th anniversary year of the decriminalisation of homosexuality, is a fitting tribute to a creator who writes honest and open queer theatre. And as such, it’s a bittersweet tale, effortlessly interweaving stories of past regrets and frustrated presents.