Posted 01 September 2010 - 01:57 PM
Synopsis: Hollywood 1949. In an era of stifling movie production restraints and stars kept under oppressive control by their bosses, innocent young actor Patrick Glass feels the full force of the studios' brute career-destroying power when he embarks on a scandalous love affair with his famous male co-star – the brooding and enigmatic Hollywood heart-throb Jackson Harper…
As the Hollywood powers-that-be and the prevailing social morality clamp down on this unacceptable romance and decide to tear it apart, the ramifications will still be felt forty years later in 1989…
Written by Dylan Costello
Directed by Manolis Emmanouel
Set Designer – Ilaria D'intinosante
Costume Designer – Claire Thompson
Lighting Designer – Christina Thanasoula
Production Manager – Victoria Cartwright
Production Assistant – Caroline Babics
Tim Blackwell as George
Adam Blake as Jackson
Julia Effertz as Ava
James Hender as Lloyd
Sid Phoenix as Patrick
Anna Sambrooks as Candice
Dee-Dee Samuels as Nella
David Shackleton as Pat
The play's inception began back in late 2005 when writer Dylan Costello was living in Los Angeles. Spending an unusually rainy day watching classic movies from the golden age of Hollywood, Dylan became fascinated by the reality back then of gay actors such as Montgomery Clift and Rock Hudson and how they dealt with hiding their true sexuality amongst the cogs of the great Hollywood Machine. Further research into the era uncovered truths and lies about the attitudes towards homosexuality in the 1940's movie industry, especially when the moralistic Production Code was in full force, forbidding even the hint of sexually ambiguous behaviour on the silver screen. This was Hollywood after all, a twisted utopia where image, control, money and power were the only things that mattered. A place where the reality never matched the fantasy – and a world that required the forced suppression of one's homosexuality should one want to keep their movie career. But this was the 1940's and you would think that these homophobic attitudes would have been gradually erased over the last few decades. But the sad truth is that they haven't and still to this day, gay actors are being asked to choose between their sexuality and their career… and so the Hollywood closet is as full as it ever was.
Secret Boulevard premieres at the Courtyard Theatre in Hoxton, London on Tuesday 5th October 2010 and runs every Tues-Sun @ 7.30pm until Sunday 7th November 2010.
** Over 16s only – contains nudity, strong language and scenes of a sexual nature.**
Ticket Prices £15 full, £13 concessions.
Box office www.ticketweb.co.uk / 0844 477 1000
www.thecourtyard.org.uk / 020 7729 2202
The Courtyard Theatre,
Bowling Green Walk,
40 Pitfield St,
London N1 6EU
(exit 2 from Old Street Tube)
Posted 07 October 2010 - 08:51 AM
The story here in Secret Boulevard is simple yet deeply compelling. Switching between 1949 and 1989 (cleverly using light effects on the famous Hollywood sign to let us know when we are), we are introduced to a memorable, complex set of characters as they all find themselves not being allowed to love who they really want to. Deceit, sex, thwarted affairs and the machinations of the simply divine bitchy gossip columnist Nella (played with wicked relish by Dee-Dee Samuels), all combine to create a tale that in turn had me laughing, crying and gasping in shock.
In particular the two male leads (played by Adam Blake and Sid Phoenix) simply radiate electricity as the star-crossed gay lovers embarking on their secret affair behind the scenes of their Hollywood movie. You are instantly drawn into their burgeoning relationship, feeling like you are those watchful eyes of Hollywood that the two men fear so much.
The director Manolis Emmanouel has given this play a cinematic feel of a movie – and it works wonderfully. One particular amusing scene consists of some of the cast re-enacting a scene just as silhouettes behind a screen – a reference to the deeply effecting themes of Dylan Costello’s script – love having to be conducted in secret, in hiding, in the shadows.
Secret Boulevard? A show like this doesn’t deserve to be a secret at all!
Posted 15 October 2010 - 05:29 PM
A moving story, that could even make a glam West End show, cleverly put on the tiny Courtyard Stage by director Manolis Emmanouel. He has found clever solutions for the play's complex settings and he has orchestrated a well-paced and emotionally affecting production.
Sid Phoenix as Pat is superb-watch this space, a young actor with lots of talent. His on-stage lover Adam Blake looks very comfortable as Hollywood star Jackson Harper. The rest of the cast is equally strong and special mention should go to Tim Blackwell that plays George. He's a great actor and manages to evoke sympathy for a character who could have been potentially played as a pantomime villain...
I would definitely recommend this play, everyone in the audience seemed to have enjoyed it loads.
Posted 17 October 2010 - 10:58 AM
Posted 17 October 2010 - 12:36 PM
Secret Boulevard effortlessly flashes back and forth between both time periods, with a seamless blend of scene changes utilising music and lighting effectively to let us know where/when we are. (Watch out also for the genius use of the Hollywood/Hollywoodland sign for this effect).
A talented cast also shine here in a production that will leave you laughing out loudly one minute then crying into your drink the next. Strong mention goes especially to the female members of the cast, Julia Effertz. Dee-Dee Samuels and Anna Sambrooks, a trio of memorable actresses playing a German mail-order bride, a acidic gossip columnist and a anything-but-dumb blonde movie sex siren, respectively.
Adam Blake and Sid Phoenix fill the auditorium with sexual tension as the illicit gay lovers at the centre of the story, whilst David Shackleton as the older version of one the them, will simply break your heart as the ramifications of his 1949 affair still conspire to upset his life forty years later.
I sincerely hope that this debut run of Secret Boulevard is just the beginning of this wonderful show’s life. This is a show simply begging to be transferred to the West End. Don’t miss it.
Posted 17 October 2010 - 03:46 PM
Doesn't necessarily negate the praise, but only fair to warn you they may very well not be as impartial as the apparent variety of names implies.
Posted 23 October 2010 - 04:23 PM
Posted 23 October 2010 - 10:37 PM
Posted 07 November 2010 - 12:45 AM
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