Great Reviews for London Production of The Black Eye

Gareth Watkins and Graham Townsend appear in the London production of  The Black Eye .

Gareth Watkins and Graham Townsend appear in the London production of The Black Eye.

Great Reviews for London Production of The Black Eye

November 6, 2008

From The Spectator
"Voices of Reason”
by Lloyd Evans

The Black Eye by Jim Dalglish follows an aging cruiser whose indulgence in every variety of sexual pleasure has sated his libido to the point of expiry. A chance encounter with a straight youngster tempts him to try out a new thrill, the conversion-seduction, but at the critical moment he deliberately sabotages his own efforts, knowing that even this novel excitement will leave him dissatisfied. The play has the feel of lived experience intelligently analysed and transfused with marvellous clarity into a dramatic lament on the perils of sexual anhedonia. This is a universal human topic which has provoked comment from three of the last century’s foremost sages. Beckett: ‘Habit is a great deadener.’ Stoppard: ‘What free love is free of is love.’ Lemmy: ‘If you get hit on the skull with a hammer at 7 every morning you eventually get used to it.’  More...

From Time Out London
“American Briefs”
by Robert Shore

by Ten cleverly sequenced short plays about gay life – many little more than sketches, really – introduce this new fringe venue. Jim Dalglish’s ‘The Black Eye’ is probably the pick of the bunch, its leather bar-loving narrator relating an ambiguous, Raymond Carver-ish roadside encounter as he delivers a spare, rhapsodic paean to sexual desire. Ronnie Larsen’s contributions also impress: in ‘Isaac and his Sex Addiction’, the unrepentant speaker recounts how he used Sexaholics Anonymous meetings to discover new cruising hotspots, while the two-part ‘The Phone Bill’ pastiches Noël Coward as a staid gay couple debate whether an addiction to phone sex constitutes infidelity. The excerpts from Jack Heifner’s ‘Seductions’, on the other hand, which use porn-style set-ups (a handyman led on by a student) to underwhelming effect, are less successful.

As the title suggests, all ten pieces are by American authors, although their scripts have been anglicised: hence, Harrods is substituted for Macy’s (one character has sex in the loos there), etc. In truth, this process of national relocation needs to be more thoroughgoing to be entirely convincing: Wandsworth Comp probably doesn’t produce student yearbooks, for instance. But at least it means the production avoids bad American accents. 

The lighting may be rudimentary and the overall aesthetic rough-and-ready, but the four actors – filling 17 roles – have some interesting tales to tell, and do so with great determination and not a little flair under Peter Bull’s sharp direction.  More...

From What’s on Stage
“American Briefs”
by Alex MacDonald

Jim Dalglish’s The Black Eye will stick in the memory for longest. Gareth Watkins’ abrasion is earned in a commanding performance that somehow marries conceit with paternalism and soul, whilst opposite him Graham Townsend’s dark anxiety provides a beautiful contrast to his creepy, borderline psychotic Geoffrey just moments later in Howard Walters’ Your friend Michael which is another captivating interlude.  More...