Theater Review: “2 Boys In A Bed On A Cold Winter’s Night”
Nicholas Wilder and Nick Baldock ponder what just happened in “2 Boys In A Bed.” Photo by John MacLellan.
“Slap you, f*** you, love you,” concisely sums up what a man wants in Richmond Triangle Players’ fierce production of “2 Boys In A Bed On A Cold Winter’s Night,” James Edwin Parker’s one-act 70 minute play about two gay men – Peter and Daryl – and their one-night stand.
Heralded as explicit and sultry (there’s full frontal nudity and one slightly strong sexual scene), a frosty headwind chills the sexual heat between the two thirtysomethings, instead rerouting the intrigue – and enjoyment – of director Justin Amellio’s show in its voyeurism: we are privy to the behind-closed-doors conversations between Peter and Daryl. Their dialogic sadomasochism isn’t always sexy, but it’s rarely unstimulating.
Peter (Nicholas Wilder) is smug. He’s a blue-collar construction worker. He’s a top. He’s rugged and chiseled. He doesn’t really believe in relationships and responsibilities – live life to the fullest is his motto. He was into drugs and he’s a narcissist. Wilder convincingly literalizes the sex-obsessed hottie who’s sometimes within our reach but ultimately transient.
Daryl (Nick Baldock) is vulnerable and sensitive. He’s a graphic artist. He went to Andover and is a pretty boy. He’s a bottom. He’s in love with the fantasy of love. The AIDS crisis has terrified him and he needs nurturing. Baldock tenderizes the role with his heartfelt pleas for love and human connection in an emotional range that moves from idealistic to explosive.
The one-night stand happens in Daryl’s Chelsea apartment early in the morning. The two guys are in the early throes of passion as they enter the apartment. Kissing ferociously, Peter throws Daryl against the wall, finally thrusting him onto the bed as he rips off his shirt, exposing Wilder’s well-chiseled ivory toned chest. However, the first scene will be much improved once the stilted choreography is cleaned up a bit and moves more naturally.
Daryl wakes up and wants to talk, but Peter wants to sleep or have sex again. The remainder of the play proceeds in conversational stages that are strikingly realistic to the aftermath of a one-night stand: courtesies like “Where are you from?” and “What do you do?” are exchanged. Topics of conversation then move from Daryl’s cassette collection to first-sexual encounters.
Interlaced in this conversation are all types of historical anachronisms: cruising in the park, jokes about “The Carpenters,” and watching “Dynasty” on Wednesday night. But, these references don’t make the play – set in 1987 – antiquated for 2012, an era in which gay men have far greater access to one-night stands with modern social technologies like Grindr and Adam4Adam.
Johnny Kernisky’s mostly blue hued lighting design nicely shines against T. Ross Aitken’s Manhattan apartment, which could easily work for 2012, or 1987. Not too shabby a place for a hook-up on a cold winter’s night.
“2 Boys In A Bed On A Cold Winter’s Night” runs through February 4th, 2012 at Richmond Triangle Players. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.richmondtriangleplayers.com/
Matthew Miller is the former arts editor and chief theater critic for GAYRVA.com. A Chicago native, he holds a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He currently resides in Richmond, VA and is a member of the Richmond Theatre Critics Circle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Matthew Miller on Twitter twitter.com/matthewkmiller
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