If you haven’t seen the work of Korean-American playwright Young Jean Lee you are in for a treat. Quite possibly a discomfiting treat, but no less stimulating for that. At first sight Lee’s 2014 New York hit suggests any other American family drama as three brothers gather with their widower father to celebrate the Christmas season. But there is a twist in a play which probes both gender and privilege with a rare fierceness. It may well seem even more current in this UK premiere than when it was first staged in the US seven years ago.
As Ed, a widower, prepares to celebrate Christmas, he calls his three grown sons back to the family home. Games are played, Chinese food is ordered, and brotherly pranks and trashtalk distract them from the on-going issue that threatens to ruin the festivities: when identity matters and privilege is a problem, what is a straight white man to do? Raucous, surprising and fearless—the ever-adventurous Young Jean Lee takes an outside look at the traditional father/son play narrative, shedding new light on a story we think we know all too well. A Korean American playwright whose work revels in subversive explorations of identity, Lee compassionately investigates straight white male identity in a way that is as hilarious as it is revealing. Following an acclaimed Broadway run, the hilarious Straight White Men arrives at Southwark Playhouse for four weeks only. Charlie Condou (playing Matt) is a British actor, columnist and LGBTQ+ rights activist best known for playing Marcus Dent in Coronation Street and Ben Sherwood in Holby City. Simon Rouse (playing Ed) is best known for playing DCI Jack Meadows in The Bill. They are joined by Cary Crankson (Country Music), Alex Mugnaioni (Romeo & Juliet, National Theatre), Kamari Roméo (The Bear/The Proposal, Young Vic) and Kim Tatum (Killer Tongue). Straight White Men is generously supported by Arts Council England & the Royal Victoria Hall Foundation.