Tory Boyz

Posted on: 08 September 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Politics, power and prejudice make for a heady mix in James Graham's provocative play.


Tory Boyz is staged at Soho Theatre by the National Youth Theatre and directed by Guy Hargreaves.

The play centres on an earnest, gay Tory researcher who feels his chances of promotion will be dashed if he comes out, and confronts questions over a party - Conservative - seen traditionally by the liberal left as intolerant and prejudiced. Is it possible, however, that the party which passed Section 28 maybe, just maybe, ready to elect Britain's first ever gay Prime Minister?

Playwright James Graham weakens a potentially fascinating theme by contrasting the young former Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath, who was secretive about his own sexuality and unable to contemplate the idea of marriage, with the protagonist here, a repressed gay who works in the office of the Shadow Department of Education today and has to put up with a loud, homophobic boss.

Furthermore the constant scene changes designed to make the story move at a brisk pace and the introduction of a group of teenagers with stereotypical views on politics and politicians only brings a certain amount of confusion and merely serves to shift the emphasis away from the absorbing and realistic scenes in the Houses of Parliament.

Nevertheless the hard working National Youth Theatre acquit themselves well and bring a strong sense of conviction to their challenging roles, in particular Shaun Rivers as the idealistic, northern Tory researcher, and Dan Ings as his objectionable boss.

In short then a bold and acerbic political comedy but one, I feel, which could have been a lot better.

Plays until 13th September 2008.

By Laurence Green

Booking Information

Box office: 020 7478 0100 or: www.sohotheatre.com

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