F**king Men
Waterloo East Theatre
13 April – 26 May, 2024

“A modern retelling of Schnitzler’s infamous classic ‘La Ronde’, F**king Men is a fascinating, funny and provocative story of sex, love and connection. This dramatic comedy follows 10 men through a series of erotic encounters that change their lives in small but significant ways. In this raw and updated new version, Joe DiPietro (‘Memphis’, ‘The Toxic Avenger,’ ‘What’s New Pussycat?’, ‘Sinatra’), takes a sharp and insightful look at the experiences of modern gay men as they navigate their conflicting desires for the comfort of monogamous love and the thrill of sexual freedom.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 3 Stars

“La Ronde” has been done so many times in so many different ways. It’s an interesting story and in its day a warning to the Parisians that their behaviour was fueling an epidemic of syphilis. Moral outrage at the underlying message that sexual interactions and disease have no class boundaries, it has been adapted and adopted all over the World.

This re-telling by Joe DiPetro uses 4 actors to play 10 different roles. It has somewhat of an identity crisis for the cast to effectively differentiate each character. Some characters work well while for others, using an accent, doesn’t land quite so well.

Every scene is a sex scene however each sexual encounter is done with the underwear still on, just dropped at the rear to show a bum with the actors facing upstage. It all feels very safe and after the first few you know how the remaining sexual encounters will be blocked. These actors are definitely not going to be seen on NAKED ATTRACTION any time soon. When the cast are embarrassed to show nudity the audience feel uncomfortable and the sex scenes feel like a necessary detail that nobody really wanted to do. Interestingly it’s the same producer from AFTERGLOW which had a much more body-confident cast.

Technically the show is sharp. With multiple screens diagonally dissecting the space there are secluded sections and in-the-room sections. Each of these screens can be made opaque or transparent electrically making for a fabulous dynamic that links the visual with the sound. The on-stage round structure, most often used as a bed, is a nice touch to the origins of this piece.

This 100 minute safe production lacks the pace and excitement that’s hidden within each scene. The title over-sells. We’ll have to seek our moral outrage elsewhere.

Photo credit Michaela Walshe

Joe Bishop, Rory Connolly, Jason Eddy, David Michaels

Creative team:
Director Steven Kunis
Movement/Intimacy Director Lee Crowley
Set/Costume Designer Cara Evans
Lighting Designer Alex Lewer
Composer & Sound Designer Julian Starr
Voice and Accent Coach Amanda Stephens-Lee
Production Manager Carrie Croft
Company Stage Manager Gareth McLeod
Marketing Manager Emma Martin
Anne Vosser Casting

Produced by Adam Roebuck
(‘Afterglow’, UK premiere, Southwark Playhouse and Waterloo East Theatre).


Adam Roebuck

F**king Men
by Joe DiPietro
based on Schnitzler’s ‘La Ronde’

Waterloo East Theatre
Brad Street

Box Office https://www.waterlooeast.co.uk

Previews from Saturday 13 April
Booking period to Sunday 26 May

Tuesday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 7.30pm
Thursday at 7pm and 9.15pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 4pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 4pm

Ticket prices:
For the run premium seats £42
Middle seats £30
Back £28

Contains strong language, homophobic violence and nudity

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