Set against the backdrop of 56 Dean Street’s sexual health clinic in Soho and based on actual interviews with their staff and patients, The Clinic is essentially a love story between two young men, streetwise Ash (Zachariah Fletcher) and sensitive Elliot (Damien Killeen) who hook-up on Grindr.
What follows is a very real take on gay culture in 2015, which some might recognise a little too well. Along the way, we meet gentle health adviser Ryan (Stewart Who?), glamorous beauty therapist Shirley (Pretty Miss Cairo) and deeply-troubled baddie Jason (Matthew Hodson), all of whom act as catalysts for our boys to fall in love amongst a sea of compulsive sex, denial, dishonesty drugs, HIV and mental health.
Cash presents, at times, an uncomfortable version of our lives, begging some crucial questions about who we are today.
Are we having the relationships we actually want – with ourselves, and each other? And is it sex and drugs we’re craving, or rather intimacy? In a scene where the boys first chat on Grindr, which we get to see in real time, we watch their instant messages typed, deleted and retyped before finally being sent.
One begins: “Do you fancy going to a spoken word event tonight?” but in fear of rejection or coming across sappy, it becomes “Are you top or bottom – I’m versatile”, favouring instant gratification instead. It’s brilliantly observed, and has the audience in hysterics – I suspect because we’ve done the same thing. I know I have. But it’s heart breaking too, watching our lives being played out like this.
And that’s the genius of Cash’s unique style, which splendidly shines through in the script and production. Anyone who has seen Cash in action at his own open mic night ‘Let’s Talk About Gay Sex & Drugs’ will be aware of the electric rhythm and flow to his writing. With a well rounded cast of scene celebrities and performers, (Pretty Miss Cairo’s Shirley clearly warrants her own spin off!)
The Clinic has Cash’s stamp of grassroots activism all over it, proudly beating in the heart of our community.
The Clinic reflects our lives back at us, and encourages us to make the changes we want, if we so wish. It’s entirely our choice.