This passionate new play by Olivier and Tony-award nominee Martin Sherman makes its UK debut 40 years after his celebrated modern classic Bent, which subsequently became a major film directed by Olivier and Tony-award nominee Sean Mathias (No Man’s Land), who directs this production of Gently Down The Stream, marking Martin Sherman’s 80th birthday.
The play follows the remarkably moving and brilliantly funny love story of Beau, a retired American pianist living in London, and Rufus, an eccentric young lawyer. Coming of age during the 70s, Beau’s attitude to love has been seasoned by a life of loving men in a world that initially refused to allow it. Not looking for a long-term relationship, Beau is naturally cautious when Rufus unexpectedly enters his world.
However, while the age gap feels unorthodox to Beau, it is immaterial to Rufus, who is from a new generation of gay men. Rufus has none of Beau’s doubts about the possibility of attaining happiness and love in the 21st Century and as he assimilates himself into Beau’s past and present, Beau learns to embrace Rufus as one of the most defining relationships of his life.
As generations intertwine, Gently Down The Stream reveals the journey of gay history and celebrates the men and women who led the way for equality, marriage and the right to dream.
The careful balance of irony, caustic wit and deep emotion in Beau's monologues is always finely held
An elegant take on more than 50 years of gay life
Legendary gay playwright Martin Sherman shows he’s still got it with this poignant relationship drama
Moving, intergenerational romance exploring changing attitudes within the gay community
All the elements of Gently Down The Stream seem to complement one another, bringing the script to life in the most enjoyable way, and providing us with an extraordinary piece of theatre
However gentle, this is a diverting watch all the same. Hyde's solos provide the tenderest of the tender moments
I was entirely captivated (and at a couple of moments definitely crying), and really, that’s what counts
Whilst the piece doesn’t swoop and dive-bomb the audience with devastating emotional turmoil, it’s more measured and humanist attempt to explore lives drawn from differing generations and differing times, is definitely of the moment