My Night with Reg - reviews of 'wickedly funny' gay comedy

Aug 11, 2014

A 'superb' revival of Elyot's sharp-witted modern classic about love and death

What you need to know

A revival of Kevin Elyot's comedy My Night with Reg has opened at the Donmar Warehouse, London. Elyot's play premiered in 1994 and became the first play focused on the lives of gay men to become a West End hit. Elyot died in June this year.

Set in the summer of 1985, it tells the story of wallflower Guy, who invites his friends for a party where they discuss sexy lothario Reg. As they reveal their daisy chain of sexual encounters they realise this night will change their lives forever. 

Robert Hastie directs a cast starring Jonathan Broadbent and Julian Ovenden. Runs until 27 September.

What the critics like

This is "a beautifully judged, superbly acted" revival of a modern classic, says Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph. Though mortality runs through the piece like a dark thread, My Night with Reg is often wickedly funny as well as deeply affecting.

This is a superb revival of Elyot's matchless tragicomedy of gay manners and morals, says Paul Taylor in The Independent. A consummate a cast makes this both an "outrageously sharp-witted and observant" tale about the foibles of the gay world in crisis, and a beautifully structured poem about Elyot's abiding (Proustian) themes.

Elyot's 1994 play has been given a "delightfully entertaining", mournful and strongly-cast Donmar revival, says Kate Bassett in The Times. Though in some ways a period piece, it has also stood the test of time. 

What they don’t like

The play is wickedly funny, but because it's set in the 1980s with the lurking spectre of Aids "the funnier it becomes, the sadder you feel", says Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times. And the great sad irony is that Elyot died before he had a chance to see this revival of his humane, timeless piece about friendship, ageing, unrequited love and death. 

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