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June 11, 2014:

No Homo-A Bromantic Tragedy reviewed by Rob Stevens

Can two straight friends really just be friends even when their friends and relations think they are a gay couple? Is there really such a thing as “bromance?” It seems everyone from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to Batman and Robin to Chandler and Joey on TV’s Friends have been accused of being in a bromance. In real life Hollywood there is Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Garry Shandling and David Duchovny for starters. That is the interesting subject of playwright Brandon Baruch’s Hollywood Fringe offering, No Homo.

Benjamin Durham and Jonny Rodgers

Ash (Jonny Rodgers) and Luke (Benjamin Durham) have been best friends since they met in college six years ago. They also have been roommates most of that time and though no one has really said anything, everyone seems to assume they are gay and lovers. Ash has an older butch gay brother Serge (AJ Jones) who has just moved in with the more flamboyant Kris (Henry McMillan) after first hooking up six months ago. At a Gay Pride celebration, Luke’s younger sister Chrissy (Lizzie Adelman), who is visiting, announces she’s a lesbian. When she tells Luke’s new girlfriend Babette (Elizabeth Ellson) that Luke is gay, Luke goes ballistic. The fallout is not pretty.

AJ Jones and Henry McMillan

Luke and Ash have several heart to heart conversations and finally start to look at their relationship through the eyes of their friends. Serge and Kris are of no help; they are already having relationship problems because Kris wants an open relationship if Serge won’t bottom in a closed one. Babette dumps Luke because she always seems to end up dating gay guys. Luke and Ash finally do the deed with disastrous results. Will their friendship survive? It does for the time being but it would be interesting to check in with these characters in another year or so to see how their relationship has evolved.

Benjamin Durham and Jonny Rodgers

There is a lot of humor in Baruch’s script and the cast is competent and under Jessica Hanna’s tight direction the show moves along quickly and the laughs keep coming. There isn’t much new in the friendship dynamic of Luke and Ash. Lillian Hellman explored this territory in her 1934 play The Children’s Hour. The couple there was female and when they were accused of being lovers, one of them declares she might have been harboring those thoughts. The same is true in No Homo. Ash has doubted his sexuality, not dated in years, and is willing to let Luke take him sexually. At least in this new play, no one commits suicide. What a difference 80 years and the Stonewall Riots have made.

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