With apologies to Mel Brooks, let’s call Some Men “the history of the gay world, part one”. Spanning the decades from the 1930s through the new millennium, playwright Terrence McNally bookends this whirlwind time travel through gay history in the United States with gay marriages of today.
Leaving no cliché unturned, McNally manages to touch on everything from Stonewall to Vietnam to AIDS to bathhouses – well you get the idea – if there is some sort of gay moment in history McNally gathers it up and mixes it into a delightful evening.
Be warned though, while there is some cross-over in some universal themes, this show has a definite US-centric slant and not a few references that will be lost on most but the very brightest gay historian. Can we say “I’ll take 1960s New York City Mayors for $500 please Alex?”
Standouts for the night include Dana MacInnis’ wonderful Stonewall era drag queen during what would have been an over-long scene in a “show queen” piano bar and the 2006 group therapy session near the end that brings the entire cast together in one of the best scenes of the show. And you simply have to admire the guts (no pun intended) of some of the actors during the often very funny bathhouse scene.
Our biggest quibble last night was with the sound. For heaven’s sake, turn down the music! Numerous times the actors were lost in a sea of what should have been BACKGROUND time-setting music.
Oh yeah, and there is nudity (not enough as one of our fellow theatre-goers announced during intermission). With a very small house on night we saw the show, David Blue and his gang at Raving Theatre should definitely be using this as a selling feature if only to get more of our queer bums into the seats. Fortunately for theatre-goers though, once they are lured to the show with the eye-candy they leave a little more educated and ultimately entertained.
This show definitely deserves to be seen. While probably not what one might expect to see during the holiday season, this is a great way to remind ourselves of where we have been, where we are and where we might be headed.