Gently Down the Stream

Gently Down the Stream
Written by Martin Sherman
Directed by Sean Mathias
Public Theatre
April 15, 2017
Production website
💉💉 out of 5.

I wanted to like this play.  I really wanted to like thus play,  It had everything going for it:  the writer, Martin Sherman and the wonderful Harvey Fierstein.  But I did not like this play.  It just never took off and then it became way too predictable and way to driven by monologues that just didn’t matter to me.  

The play started with the obligatory waking up with the hot, shirtless trick – – and I thought, okay,  I’ve seen this before but a little gratuitous nudity is the perfect way to launch a gay play.  But then the play just didn’t move.  The gay trick loved the old man.  Old man cannot believe anyone would be attracted to him.  Old man resists.  Young man fights to convince old man.  Young man even proposes to old man.  Old man just cannot deal with it and refuses.  Young man finds another young man (duh!) and goes for the   lawyer/marriage/baby scenario that was been in every gay play for the last five years.  Old man becomes token granddad.   Oh, and during all of this old man gives monologue after monologue about how the gay world was a much more evocative and dangerous place through all the homophobia, discrimination and through the time of AIDS.  I wish I could say that I cared about all of these past loves of old man, but I just didn’t.

Perhaps the best moment of the play was the monologue delivered by Harvey at the wedding of his two young companions.  He spoke of all the progress that gay men have found in the last decade and wondered if they will be happy with the “comfortableness” of a socially acceptable marriage.

I wanted to like this play.  I really did.  BUT – I was able to predict every turn of the play.  I have heard all of this many times before and with more aplomb.


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