My Night With Reg

MNWRA group of English gay men get together to reminisce. They are all coming from a wake for one of their circle who’s died of AIDS. It’s that terrifying time between the outbreak of AIDS and the development of an AIDS test and as the conversation unfolds it becomes apparent that each man there has had unprotected sex with the deceased.

The Guardian review said: The pivotal figure is Guy, a dogged loner whose cautious attitude to sex leads one character to observe, “You know he masturbates in Marigolds.” In the first scene, celebrating Guy’s flat-warming, we not only learn that he has long had an unspoken love for his old university chum, John: we also discover that the rootless John has been having a secret affair with Reg, the lover of another old mate from uni days, the flamboyant Daniel. But, in the two succeeding scenes, we find that the unseen Reg has been generous with his favours and has slept with just about everyone in Guy’s circle of gay friends. It is significant that John and Reg have been spotted going to see a fashionable French film, since I suspect Elyot’s play is an oblique homage to Eric Rohmer’s My Night With Maud.

A gay review said: It’s always scary to think back to the ’80s and how entire friendship groups watched as the brutal disease picked off each member one by one, yet it’s a timely reminder of how far we’ve come. Although the inhabitants of My Night With Reg never saw past their early 40s, we’re thankfully now at a stage where living with AIDS and HIV is becoming increasingly more comfortable. Watching with this awareness, however, doesn’t give the play a dated feel, because death, love and friendship play a part in everybody’s lives no matter their health status.

We discussed the book in March 2012

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