5 Guy’s Chillin tells the honest, funny and sometimes uncomfortable stories that come out when a group of five LGBTQ+ men meet up for a ‘chill’. For the uninitiated, a chill-out in LGBTQ+ culture is when people, often strangers, are invited over to a house to relax, often it’s the comedown from a ‘chemsex’ session at another home. This sometimes involves drugs and sex, but not always. It’s essentially the after party after the after-party and usually involves smaller groups.
What stood out for me most about this performance is how amazingly it is written and acted by every performer. It is almost as if you are watching a documentary rather than something theatrical, the conversations are that natural and realistic. It’s like literally viewing a snapshot into someone’s life. It’s both laugh out loud funny and deeply poignant, putting a spotlight on so many relatively new aspects of LGBTQ+ culture yet untouched in theatre. There is no subject too raw to be discussed here, and it is tackled in such an honest conversational way, from ‘chemsex’, to heavy drug taking, to rape, to HIV in the modern age, to STD’s and lots more. Yet it never feels as though it is trying to be overly political or at all preachy. Nothing is brought up in an over dramatic manner, not even when the script turns dark. Here silence instead of dramatics, speak louder. It’s an open conversation and look at the direction LGBTQ+ culture is heading in in the modern world.
Even the effect of drugs is portrayed in a unique way here, with the characters slowly becoming more open as the effects take place, without being too over dramatic or sudden as is often see in performances that involve drug consumption. Every character is unique and completely believable in their speech, actions and beliefs, a credit to both the writing and the performances. There isn’t one part that is performed anything less than perfectly here.
This is a natural look into a part of the culture that as of yet has not often been touched upon. It leaves questions open to the audience. Does this new technologically driven method of finding casual sex leave the LGBTQ+ community vulnerable to dangers? Does it create a fear of intimacy and true friendships? Or is it the ultimate completion of what people have been looking for all along?
Catch 5 Guy’s Chillin’ at The king’s Head theatre until the the 3rd of June.