Hot Gay Time Machine

Thu 2nd – Sat 4th February 2017

reviews

Clare Cavenagh

at 23:36 on 2nd Feb 2017

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If you've been wondering whether you might like to go and see Hot Gay Time Machine, it's likely that you might have turned to Camdram, that orange font of all theatrical knowledge around these parts for help. There, you'd have been confronted with a frankly incomprehensible crew list, and a blurb which mentions many things: comedy, musical theatre, homosexuality, Toby Marlow and Zak Ghazi-Torbati. The truth, which I can now reveal, having witnessed (or experienced, or possibly survived?) Hot Gay Time Machine is that all of these are true. The only other clarifying information I can really provide is that this show is very hot, very gay, and contains frequent references to time travel.

From the very outset, this show is an assault to every single sense. Marlow and Ghazi-Torbati burst onto the stage in a flurry of leopard print, sequins, knee-high white leather platform boots and hand-coloured rainbow flag plimsolls, launching immediately into what become characteristic and recurring bursts of incredibly violent, and highly-spirited, dancing. This is most frequently accompanied by the musical talents of Beyoncé or Lady Gaga (although others do feature).

Although the two cast member/writers continually ask the audience (and themselves) what the show is about, a kind of storyline does emerge. Through the medium of song, accompanied skilfully by Marlow on the piano, and sung with great gusto by both cast members, Hot Gay Time Machine charts the life experiences, up to arrival at university, of the two gay protagonists.

This plotline becomes the backbone of many rousing musical numbers. Highlights include a touching, and riotously funny, song about the poignant moment of coming out to one's mother, a series of European cultural pastiches which chart the experiences of the two protagonists on their gap yah, when they set out to experience gay life in other countries, and a song which posed the vitally important question of whether or not it's alright to look at cocks in the locker room (spoiler alert: it's totally fine, everyone does it apparently, but ONLY WITH CONSENT).

Although primarily concerned with the experiences of white, cis,

privileged, gay men, this show is anxious not to exclude others, and features a number of nods to other minority groups (religious, racial...) and is particularly careful about treatment of women. This is made manifest through the inclusion of the G.A.S.H. (Gendered and sexist hate) jar, into which a pound must be thrown each time an instance of such intolerance crops up. This questions is also more directly tackled within the show during a song in which Zak teaches Toby that although he might be gay, it's still not okay to grab women's breasts without asking.

Hot Gay Time Machine is overwhelming, loaded with thespian in-jokes, chaotic and anarchic. As well as all that, it's completely delightful. I would recommend having a drink beforehand, and bringing a friend for moral support, in case you're called upon to join in. Presumably timed to coincide with the beginning of LGBT history month, this show is an excellent way to spend an evening, and you'll emerge from it enlivened and exhilarated, if a little shell shocked. Wear a t-shirt, it's hot in there. And gay. And a time machine.

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