TV Review: It’s A Sin

La. It’s A Sin is a triumphant piece of television written by Russell T Davies, a crucial if challenging watch about how HIV/AIDS cut through the gay community in 1980s London

“We’ve got this great big killer disease and it’s happening in silence”

On the face of it, a five-parter on the AIDS crisis in 1980s London isn’t what you’d necessarily pick to schedule in the depths of a Covid-blighted January. But Russell T Davies and Channel 4 have absolutely hit the mark with It’s A Sin, Dipping every couple of years into the lives of a group of friends who find each other in London’s queer corners, this journey from 1981 to 1991 takes place under the ever-growing and ever-threatening shadow of HIV/AIDS.

It’s the kind of script where you can feel that every word has been intimately felt, with characters based on Davies’ own life, At the heart of it lies Olly Alexander’s Ritchie, an 18 year old would-be law student just waiting to explode out of the closet from his Isle of Wight homelife. It being the 80s, he soon finds himself in a chaotic but fab houseshare in which a new queer family develops – Roscoe (Omari Douglas) escaping his Nigerian family’s plan to straighten him out, the dreamy Ash (Nathaniel Curtis) with his douching advice, quiet Welsh boy Colin (a superb Callum Scott Howells) and Jill (an equally excellent Lydia West) who tempts him over onto the drama course and establishes one of the key relationships of the show (reflecting one of Davies’ own and in a neat touch, the real Jill appears as the fictional Jill’s mum). Continue reading “TV Review: It’s A Sin”

WoLab presents…The Actor-Writer Showcase

Less a review and more of a feature on this innovative programme – WoLab presents…The Actor-Writer Showcase

“I don’t want to be the last chair”

You want to believe that the world of theatre-making is open to everyone, that institutions are craving to hear new authentic voices, but the reality is is that it really isn’t that simple at all. Just look at theatres like the Hampstead and the Almeida who have taken the radical step of announcing Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters in their new seasons. Admittedly auteur-led but still, where’s the support and encouragement for those that want to tell their own stories?

It’s in the grassroots that’s where, in schemes like WoLab’s Actor-Writer showcase which invited aspiring artists to participate in this summer-long course to further develop and nurture their skills not just as actors and writers but as rounded theatre professionals with an eye on marketing and producing as much as making. It’s a stirringly positive enterprise from WoLab AD Alistair Wilkinson and one which proved most entertaining when the ‘graduating class’ were invited to perform specially written monologues and duologues. Continue reading “WoLab presents…The Actor-Writer Showcase”