Theatre Review - Positive

THIS is the third incarnation of Shaun Kitchener’s engaging comedy, which played Edinburgh in 2013 and London’s Waterloo East Theatre in 2014. Kitchener conceived Positive in order to confront the prejudices and misinformation surrounding people living with HIV in the UK today.

Since being diagnosed as HIV positive, 26-year-old Benji (Timothy George) has avoided starting a relationship. After a drinking spree, Benji ends up with Olly (Ryan J Brown), a brash student who rejects him upon discovering that he is positive. Benji’s flat mate Nikki (Nathalie Barclay) persuades him to go on a blind date with Matt (Kitchener). The play’s finest moments come during a delightful central scene where the pair flirt and spar over dinner.

Running parallel to Benji’s story is that of Nikki, who caught HIV while working in Uganda. She’s desperate to return to Africa with her supportive boyfriend Greg (Paul Heelis) but is anxious that her health is not yet stable.

Kitchener’s deft dialogue and Harry Burton’s well-paced direction ensures that Positive remains upbeat.

It is refreshing to see a relatively large cast playing on the London fringe, although the acting is a little uneven. The star turn comes from Kitchener himself, who gives a beautifully understated performance and generates most of the laughs.

Originally published by Camden Review

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