If you fancy British humor, blond lads, Catholic boy uniforms, and anonymous sexual encounters, then you can’t miss “What’s Wrong with Angry?” Fueled by American’s fascination of all things British, from George Michael to absurd comedy, Celebration Theater’s rendition of Patrick Wilde’s “What’s Wrong with Angry?” tackles the criminalization of homosexuality in 1990s Great Britain, through the life of young, gay closeted Steven Carter, played by Daniel Taylor.
Steven, a gay teenage boy struggling with his sexuality while navigating through the notion of “proper gentleman,” falls for fellow classmate and school heartthrob John Wresthead (Miles Heymann). The story complicates once Steven discovers that his feelings toward his schoolboy crush are reciprocated.
Though some of the actors struggled to maintain an authentic British accent, this rendition isn’t your typical community theater performance, with the intimate venue’s bath-house lighting, a montage of late ‘80s and early ‘90s music, and stage combat worthy of the Taper Forum. It is the supporting cast, however, that truly steals the show. Heymann, with his puppy eyes and Disney boy band physique, successfully straddles John’s dual position of the gentleman archetype and the elusive object of gay desire. Additionally, Kelly Schumann, in her role as Steven’s rambunctious friend Linda, is a comedic natural. With an intuitive sense of timing and a genuine comfort with her own body, Schumann’s performance helps move the plot forward in an endearing and engaging manner.
Primarily geared toward a gay male audience, the dialogue — peppered with after-school-special clichés and innuendoes — allows the message of sexual liberation to be enjoyed by a broader audience. The first in Celebration Theater’s 2011-2012 season, and while a crowd pleaser, I hope to see more people of color on stage in more prominent roles in the rest of Celebration‘s 29th season.
“What’s Wrong with Angry?”
Written by Patrick Wilde
Directed by Michael Matthews
Runs from 9 September 2011 to 29 October 2011
7051 Santa Monica BLVD
Los Angeles, California