Kompromat, 4 Stars

Part of the Vaults Festival
23rd to 27th Jan 2019

“In 2010 gay GCHQ agent Gareth Williams was found dead in his central London flat, his body carefully folded into a large red sports bag.

The killers, presumed to be Russian agents, were never found.

Eight years later intelligence experts linked the case with the Skripal nerve agent attack to cast new light on how the assassination was done.

Kompromat, a new play directed by 5 Guys Chillin’ award-winner Peter Darney and inspired by the spy-in-the-sports-bag case, takes us back to the final deadly moments as two men, killer and victim, play out their fates.

Gay London meets Spy London in a London where the world of espionage has never been so frighteningly close to the surface.

In Kompromat, written by David Thame, espionage, sex and politics collide with loneliness and desire in a heart-breaking solution to the mystery of Williams’ death.

Spy London and Gay London have always lived side-by-side from the 1950s case of Guy Burgess on to today. And that closeness comes with a real price,” says director Peter Darney. “Making the wrong decisions about who you trust, who you love, and who you sleep with can cost a life.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 4 Stars

What a story eh? You couldn’t make this up – and it really did happen. Of course, what actually happened is still open to speculation but we all believe the Russians were involved. Aren’t they always? And don’t we love to blame the Russians! Trust ’em? Absoultely not!!!
Thank you UK News and Social Media for educating me to never trust a Russian!


So, what we do know is a British citizen was found dead and bundled into a bag.
That’s it. End of. Intriguing eh?
And this is the premise for “Kompromat”

Expertly directed by Peter Darney, with a strong creative team which includes Sherry Coenen as lighting designer, this 60 minute play whizzes by with a firm grip.

The costumes are fabulous (Fionnula Blossom). The Set doesn’t quite work – a wealthy government GCHQ Agent set up in an expensive flat would probably do better than a cheap Ikea table, but the leather sofa is great – shame the sofa isn’t angled so we can all see how posh it is!

The casting is spot on! Zac (Max Rinehart) and Tom (Guy Warren-Thomas) propel the performance as lovers, assassin and victim – like a Black Widow spider with a new lover. Zac has found his “buttered-bread sugar daddy” – but at what cost? Murder? Tom, fit, handsome and gorgeous, doesn’t realise his beauty but despite inner-voice warnings he still pursues a self-affirmatory shag. Even offering hmiself as “even more slutty ” he still fails to find the nightime experience he craves.

David Thame‘s play is interesting and handles this story without judgement. I really liked this. Possibly the monologues from Zac in the 1st half are a little indulgent but the play comes alive whenever Tom joins in….that’s not due to Zac – just the construct is better when “portrayed” rather than “reported”.

But this is still excusable as the hour flies past. This is most likely the best production to see this week at the 10 x week Vaults Festival 2019!

Carefully blocked so the audience don’t see any full frontal (bummer, eh?), Tom takes an emotional risk with Zac, and he knows it – but we all know how this ends up! He knows something’s wrong, but too little, too late! Possibly not as brave as it could be to portray Tom’s desperation for love, but still striking the chord of “what we did for love”…..this is a production that’s powerful and hard-hitting. We’ve all been there to some extent – but luckily, unlike Tom, we survived to “live and tell”!

Only on for a few performances – don’t miss it!!!


KOMPROMAT, Weds 23 to Sunday 27 January 2019, 19:40, Sunday 27 January 16:40

VAULTS Festival, Leake Street, SE1 7NN

Tickets: £15, boxoffice@vaultfestival.com Tel 0208 050 9241