About A Goth is an incredibly charming and good humoured play about growing up gay and Gothic. Touching and brilliantly observed.
Nick is a goth. He revels in darkness and misery. Why else would he be volunteering in a residential care home? But as Nick grows up, he realises that there’s more to life than being a gay goth in About a Goth.
Who doesn’t remember their teen days? I mean, I’d rather forget some of them, but I remember them none the less. About a Goth, although LGBTQIA in nature, is actually far more about growing up and coming to terms with who you are as a person rather than just focusing on sexuality. It’s a really great thing to see such a show on the fringe, where the show itself isn’t overtly LGBTQIA but tells a story that just happens to include a queer character: it shows a real depth of writing, insight, and observation. Indeed, the gay side of Nick as a character actually feels really organic, and colours him as a complex and interesting person rather than making a point about sexuality, although there are elements of About a Goth that intrinsically touches on being young and gay in this modern age.
As for the play itself, Tom Wells’ piece is incredibly well observed and spiked with wonderful little comic moments throughout, especially through some fantastically thought out bits of situational comedy like particularly Nick’s parents’ hobby of medieval battle reenactments. The result it that About a Goth is an incredibly charming play that succinctly catches the essence of trying to find an identity for yourself whilst coming of age. Nick’s Gothic veneer might seem a little stereotypical, but that really is the whole point: About a Goth is about teen pretences and finding out who you are. The rest of the play chimes and evokes adolescence pomp with an intuitive observation that, even if you didn’t Goth it up at in your late teens, there’s so much that you can connect to here.
There are some little kinks the show. It can sometimes be difficult to tell which time and location we’re in as the timeline jumps around quite a bit. Whilst you eventually settle into it, some further production could help ease audiences in a bit more. Then, the fact that the whole of About of Goth is also a simultaneous striptease seems a little awkward. I get that it’s the character shedding their persona and becoming who they really are, but it just seems a little unnecessary, although hardly something that mars About a Goth. The text really speaks for itself without decorating it with titillation, though About a Goth’s slow-burn burlesque isn’t hardly unwelcomed.
Clement Charles gives a performance as charming as Wells’ play. Young themselves, Charles really taps into the petulance and the turbulence of teenhood, whilst tripping effortlessly through the text. It’s a wonderfully engrossing and engaging performance that won’t fail to raise a smile and warms you to Charles from the word go.
Growing up has never been so fabulously grim and acutely funny. About a Goth is for anyone and everyone who had to “grow-up”.