Review | The thought-provoking OPEN will leave you with a 'fuzzy feeling'

Find out what reviewer Paul Bloomfield thought of the new play at Vault Festival


Words: Paul Bloomfield

There’s no denying that the 21st century has been a huge turning point in the definition of marriage and relationships, especially in the context same-sex couples.

The past 20 years have not only seen LGBTQI people finally legitimised and given equal rights in terms of adoption and marriage, but there has also been a marked increase in other non-conformist, less ‘traditional’ relationships, with concepts of open marriages, polygamy and pansexuality pushing to the mainstream.

OPEN, which is showing at Vault Festival this week, is an upfront account of writer Christopher Adams and actor Timothy Allsop’s relationship from the moment they met on Guardian Soulmates nine years ago, chronicling how they have manoeuvred the various obstacles around the LGBT rights movement of the past decade.

Equal parts comedy sketch, confessional and convo with your besties, OPEN takes serious topics and deals with them in a humorous and light manner.

A set of boxes strewed across the space, the couple literally unpack the issues they’ve faced. Chris is an American from a Christian family who has never kissed a boy before.

Tim hails from middle-of-nowhere Sussex and has a few more years and indeed conquests under his belt. They speak directly to the audience, with interludes of audience participation and real life accounts of some of the men they’ve encountered along the way.

They talk about sex – of course – but not crassly and that is not what the piece is about. It’s about love, trust and respect and how we feel when rules are made and broken, to navigate our relationship across an ever changing landscape

This is not theatre which is going to smack you in the face with extreme views, shocking ideas or revelation, although it does make you stop and think about your own relationship.

If you are in or have been in an open relationship, you won’t be able to help but compare, if you’re not it will certainly be something you discuss with your partner, whether it’s a “I could never…” or “maybe we should…” conversation.

With so much gay men’s theatre surrounding the Aids epidemic and chemsex it is so refreshing to watch a play, which deals with an open, gay couple’s dynamic, without hitting you in the face with their promiscuity and leaving you feeling guilty for any kind of sexual activity you’ve taken part in.

OPEN is as honest as it is heart-warming and above all you’ll leave the room with a fuzzy feeling and wanting to be friends with Chris and Tim, because…well, they’re just lovely.

Rating: 4*

OPEN runs from January 23-27, 2019 at Vault Festival – in the Cage

To buy tickets visit here. The script of OPEN is available as part of Plays from VAULT 4 published by Nick Herne books.