This Week in Theater
Review by Rose Desena
Two young men in an all-boy’s prep school explore their sexuality and end up in a 15-year relationship that prevails against all odds. The Australian Theater Company brings Los Angeles the highly acclaimed award-winning play “Holding the Man.” This provocative and powerful drama will have your eyes filled with tears and your heart tugged in many directions as you watch both men struggle through their short lives.
Nate Jones is sensational as Timothy Congrave, an activist, actor, writer and, last but not least, a man who truly loved. He loved the theater, writing and his long-term boyfriend, John Caleo. Maybe to a blind eye this would seem to be a sad story, but although I cried, I was at the same time inspired by this beautiful man named Timothy.
The late 70s and early 80s was a historical time for the homosexual population. San Francisco and NYC were the Meccas of the gay community, of young men and women pouring into those cities seeking freedom, understanding and tolerance. Leather bars and gay clubs shared the same streets with fern bars and posh heterosexual restaurants and hang outs. However, for some who did not live in such sophisticated cities, being gay was an emotional fight that started in their homes. The conversation between gay kids and their parents could not have been more difficult and disappointing on both sides. In Melbourne, Australia, Caleo was the captain of the football team while Timothy had an eye for the arts.
Timothy and John experienced a hard battle for acceptance from their conservative families. However, they still managed to thrive, only to be taken down by yet another fight: HIV. AIDS was spreading through the gay community like wild fire. Timothy’s love of acting as well as his commitment to John gave him the strength to not only to deal with his own physically compromised state, but to use his experience as a platform to expose the personal hardships he faced from what was to become the black plague of the 20th century.
Larry Moss directs this incredible production beautifully, digging the characters into the souls of the audience with sharp precision. The simple but effective set allows one to focus on the poetic writing.
I can’t praise this memorable show enough to do it justice. Excellent acting, a great story and pure electrifying presentation make this A MUST SEE.
Don’t wait. I am sure it will sell out.
Adapted by Tommy Murphy from the memoir by Timothy Conigrave
Directed by: Larry Moss
CAST: Cameron Daddo, Nate Jones, Luke O’Sullivan, Adrienne Smith, Roxane Wilson, Adam J. Yeend Produced by Nick Hardcastle, Nate Jones and Mike Abramson Presented by Australian Theatre Company WHEN: Performances continue through June 29: Thursday at 8 p.m.: May 15, 22, 29; June 5, 12, 19, 26 Fridays at 8 p.m.: May 16, 23, 30; June 6, 13, 20, 27 Saturdays at 8 p.m.: May 17, 24, 31; June 7, 14, 21, 28 Sundays at 3 p.m.: May 18, 25; June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
The Matrix Theatre 7657 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90046s (west of Stanley Ave., between Fairfax and La Brea) HOW: 323-960-7735 or www.holdingtheman.us