Jonathan Harvey’s masterpiece Beautiful Thing is set to return to the West End 20 years after its controversial debut and producers are hopeful it will speak just as powerfully to audiences as it did then.
When Harvey wrote Beautiful Thing the gay age of consent in the UK was 21 and if there was a working class gay character on TV he would have sparked outrage or he “would end up becoming a rent boy”, Harvey told the Guardian.
After 20 years, a lot has changed in the country – though Harvey is confident that it will hit people just as hard today.
He remarked: “It sort of hasn’t really dated in as much as it’s not just about being gay. It is about first love and coming of age, as well as coming out.”
Since its debut, the play has travelled around the world including China, France and Australia. With MPs voting earlier this month in favour of gay marriage, the show is coming back at the right time.
Indeed, Harvey said the ruling had changed attitudes little in the country: “But it doesn’t mean homophobia has gone away and with the debate about equal marriage you have to read MPs, mostly Tory, knocking the gay community and MPs going ‘I’m not homophobic, but …'”
The first read through for the anniversary revival of the play took place last week ahead of its run at the Arts Theatre in London from April 13th to May 25th.
With the show only set to stay in the capital for a short period, people don’t have long to get tickets to see it as part of a weekend spent in one of the many luxury hotels in London.
Admission to see the new production, which stars former Coronation Street star Suranne Jones, will cost between £20 and £45, with a group of six able to enter for £30 each.