When I knew I was going to see the staged production of Holding the Man I was excited but nervous. The movie and the novel had me sobbing in a corner. Why would the play be any different? I‘d brought a full packet of travel tissues and I entered ACT Hub Theatre at Causeway Hall I prepared for a cathartic experience.
Teenage love has never been smooth sailing. Well, imagine being gay in a Catholic boys school in the 1970s and falling in love with the football captain. Holding the Man follows the life of Tim and John as they navigate friendship, love and sexuality against the backdrop of the 1980s AIDS epidemic.
However, halfway through the play, it was clear the director wanted to take us on a very different journey: a cheeky journey. The genius of the portrayal played out in humorous scenes, more like a coming-of-age comedy. Upbeat and fabulous; I didn’t shed a tear. I walked away feeling the beautiful agony of a man showing his final adoration for the man he loved.
Holding the Man is playing at the ACT Hub Causeway Hall in Kingston until April 1. More information at https://www.acthub.com.au/holding-the-man