Written and directed by Adam Zane, Jock Night is rooted in the lived experiences of Manchester’s queer community. Although the play is a fictional narrative, it is inspired by real events that have happened to the people who have shared their stories with Zane.
Welcome to Jock Night, the ultimate after-party, set in the aftermath of Manchester’s hottest club night, Jock.
Ben is a forty-something Victoria Wood fan searching for love in a world of chemsex and jockstraps. As the nights get wilder, he’s surrounded by party boys who don’t even know who Mrs Overall is.
Kam is self-proclaimed ‘fabulous and undetectable’, hiding his struggles with addiction by being the life and soul of the party. Gym-bunny Russ is gaining Instagram followers but would rather follow Kam. Antony is young, naive and just off the bus from Doncaster; thrown headfirst into a night he will never forget.
With a Grindr message from a fading porn star, Ben must decide whether to follow his heart or keep the party going.
- Ben: David Paisley
- Kam: Sam Goodchild
- Russell: Matthew Gent
- AJ: Levi Payne
- Simon: George Hughes
This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen the highs and lows of chems tackled through theatre, but Jock Party is an important contribution to that conversation.
Chemsex is a broad term that doesn’t really convey the emotional chasm that drugs and sex are unable to fill – Jock Party does an admirable job in trying to illustrate the appeal of chems and the rollercoaster that they can take us on.
This is accomplished theatre-making. The characters are clearly defined, and the pacing keeps the audience on board as the story unfolds.
Adam Zane has previously worked with verbatim theatre, and that is sometimes reflected in the dialogue in this play. At times, it can feel a bit preachy but important points are being made and people still need to hear the messages about developments such as PrEP and U=U.
This is a play that is firmly rooted in Manchester. The Coronation Street references were lost on me, but there are clear echoes of Queer As Folk and the odd soliloquy in the style of Russell T. Davies.
The cast is uniformly strong. Sam Goodchild as Kam gets pretty much all of the comedic moments and he nails the timing. For a subject as bleak as chemsex, it’s difficult to balance the lighter moments but that’s generally navigated fairly smoothly.
The set is relatively simple – a bedroom in which all of the action takes place over the period of 12 months. Sound design was particularly strong with integration of effects such as Alexa and hook-up app alerts all seamless.
If you want a reminder that chems can really fuck up your life, this play delivers that. If you want a reminder to live in the moment and look out for your friends and loved ones, this play delivers that.
If you want to admire some great looking bums, this play delivers that. Jock Night is a total butt buffet. All of the actors pretty much deliver every scene wearing a varying assortment of jockstraps. It’s a wardrobe choice that sets the standard for West End.
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