top of page

Jock Night | Seven Dials Playhouse

Welcome to the Manchester gay scene 2023. Rife with open relationships, celebration of pride and history, addiction and of course: sex. A gay man, known as Bareback Daddy on Grindr, and his friends love to party and party... hard. They regularly enjoy the company of others and engage in substances while doing so. But is there more to life than this? This is the main premise of the play. While being hysterically funny, Jock Night is also powerful, playful and delightfully physical. Interspersed between educational and moving conversations are a million and more references to icons such as Victoria Wood, jokes about Cher singing Fernando and of course: Deirdre Barlow.

Set in one bedroom, the stage was well designed and included lots of details that a curious eye would spot as a realistic bedroom of a 40+ gay man in Manchester. It was well lit throughout with bedside lamps being used for ambience. The classic "led strip behind the headboard" featured in most scenes which helped provide mood lighting during the party and sex scenes. While some scene changes were a bit long in a blackout, considering the largest set change was making the bed, it was accompanied by Kylie Minogue or other icons to groove to. These were all summoned digitally via a certain voice assistant who can't be named (as she's probably listening). This added a fun nod to the audience and meta comment that we are watching a play while also including music realistically in what was otherwise a very real storyline.

Touching on topics such as substance abuse, the adult film industry, HIV and more, Jock Night brought to light how glorified gay culture is in the media. Outside of the realm of rainbows and Ru Paul are real people who have lives and struggles just like the heteronormative ones that are mainstream. Quotes such as "Sex Education was just about condoms on cucumbers and vaginas" were particularly poignant as this is the state of the UK education system. There is little mention of the real life useful tips and that's if you actually get more than just the tip. There is no direct education on living HIV positive or seeking out PrEP. One particular scene based on a conversation about how harmful language such as "are you clean?" and the conations that brings were powerful and nearly tear jerking. Particularly in a generation that is chronically online, this play highlights the lack of safety and education that is being passed on.

These scenes were frequent with others commenting on how gay culture for some can be very temperamental, as queer people aren't raised to have hope or future. Generations of LGBTQIA+ people have been raised on the trauma of not knowing if they will reach a certain age, not being able to hold hands in public and worse. This has led to a lot of people struggling with addictions of various kinds as having fun and living in the moment becomes a paramount ideology. Another example of this is the adult film industry in which "Simon" or "Hunter" as his performer (not star) name is, struggles with stepping away from that life style. Sex work is valid work but this play also highlights how for some it can feel like the only work possible. Some mentalities and desire to be desired lend themselves to a need for constant validation which pornograohy provides. As well as income.

Collectively, the cast represent a variety of homosexual stories and histories. From knowing Victoria Wood to relying on poppers and viagra for Wood, this Friendsome work together on stage to discuss vital topics while laughing and learning. The education of HIV positive people including language such as: "PrEP" and "Undetectable" which many are still unfamiliar with, is also highlighted in the programme and an informative leaflet that is provided. Alongside this is information regarding "Chemsex" with help and advice also. As the character Ben said: "The village hasn't been much of a community sometimes." This play provides a great opportunity to inspire people to talk.

Ending on a discussion of needing to open up our hearts and minds, as well as the other bits, with each other was a great ending to leave the audience on a topic of hope for the future. This play should be seen by all both for the enjoyment and the education and should not be missed. Jock Night runs at Seven Dials Playhouse until the 11th November - for more information, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review


bottom of page