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Programmes rustled and wineglasses clinked as the first few notes rang out to Rentboy: The Musical and the unignorably gorgeous cast skipped out on stage.  The audience at Vauxhall’s Above The Stag Theatre was an interesting mix of distinguished, older Derek Jacobi types (panama hats, canes, white linen suits) and lithe young men in frayed denim shorts (plus of course the obligatory backwards BOY London caps). But given the subject matter this cultural melange was entirely appropriate, and only added to the socio-political milieu of the evening. 


As soon as the excellent silver fox MC (Frank Loman) appeared, it was straight into a generous serving of comical campery, continuing relentlessly for the entire show with a large dollop of gold hotpants, whimsical numbers about being a male escort and more cultural clichés than you can shake a glowstick at. Loman carried it with effortless and energetic aplomb, giving the whole thing a sort of Seussical air of nonsense with his selection of lamé suits and almost Bruce Forsyth-esque game show host quips.

Another highlight was Samuel Clifford’s excellent turn as The Client; a downtrodden, very human character who played, as the name suggests, a tired businessmen who paid for the escorts’ services. He had a formidable pair of pipes on him, and whilst he was on stage, the show came close to being genuinely emotive. Phil McCloskey was also very enjoyable as The Master, if for no other reason than the fact that he looks like a Bel Ami model and spent 90% of the show in a pair of backless leather chaps. His ass is worthy of a Tony Award.

The overt campery means Rentboy: The Musical should definitely not be taken too seriously, and if panto is your thing than the show really is a lot of fun. I mean, sexy boys dancing around in tiny shorts to flashy over-the-top musical numbers under an arch in Vauxhal – that’s what being is gay is all about, right?!


• Above The Stag Theatre, Arch 17, Miles Street, SW8 1RZ. Runs until 2nd August. Tickets £19.50.

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