The Chemsex Monologues is a 2016 play written by British playwright Patrick Cash and performed by London Ensemble, Dragonflies Theatre. It is a confronting look at the anonymous underground world of gay sex parties in London.
The narrator (Richard Watkins), sitting in a chair on a bare stage launches into graphic description of his night on drugs and nameless sex. It is as funny as confrontational; the deeper issues touched on, but passed by. He meets a young Nameless and they go to a Chemsex party together.
The second act is the same night from the viewpoint of the muscular blonde boy Nameless played by Damien Killeen. He describes his encounter with gay porn star Saint Sebastian and feelings of love, lust and jealousy during the drug fuelled sex party they ended up at.
The play now shifts to the viewpoint of fag hag Cath played by Remy Moynes. Her desperation to support her gay friend Steve and the struggle she faces between concerns for his welfare and bringing up a young child demonstrates how the Chemsex world reaches beyond the parties and the drugs.
The final monologue is from Daniel, the Sexual Health Worker played perfectly by Richard Unwin. His idealistic and innocent attitude towards the scene paints a picture of people trying to do their best to help but being out of touch of the underlying issues.
Ecstasy comes from the Greek word ekstasis meaning ‘standing outside oneself’. The question is why these men need to be outside of themselves to have a good time. What dark secrets are they trying to escape?
The narrator takes to the stage once more. It is two years later and with help from Daniel he has cleaned his life. Porn star Saint Sebastian has long since died from an overdose. He gets a call from a drug crazed Nameless and spends the evening trying to bring him back to normality.
This is a play that tackles a serious issue in a funny and entertaining way, but leaves you reflecting on deeper issues of belonging, love and desire. A challenging play to watch but definitely worth the effort.
The Chemsex Monologues plays until March 19th at The German Club. For tickets and further information, head here.
The reviewer attended the play on March 15th.