Fans of the directorial work of Peter Gill, known for his productions of Chekhov and DG Lawrence, and fans of the work of Peter Gill as an award-winning playwright York realistwere delighted when Jermyn Street Theater announced they were to produce a new play by Gill, now in his eighties.

Something is in the air it’s a poignant one-act play that’s only 65 minutes long and is too complex and confusing to be entirely accessible and successful.

Colin and Alex, two old gay men, sit in chairs next to each other, holding hands. They stay sitting everywhere. Dementia has developed and they are in a boarding house.

They have guests with whom they do and do not: Colin (Ian Gelder) has a kind, caring niece (Claire Price). Alex (Christopher Godwin) has a homophobic son (Andrew Woodall) who is embarrassed by his father holding hands.

There are also two young men in their twenties (James Schofield and Sam Thorpe-Spinks) standing and sitting on the periphery, mostly silent and only occasionally interjecting a line or two. They can be young adults; but do not appear. They are their lovers in their youth.

Colin and Alex have overlong monologues in which they reminisce about their youth in London 60 years ago: streams of consciousness, minds full of images, nostalgic and lyrical snapshots of places and people, and snippets of history. It’s very easy to find yourself switching off and listening to the sound of the words instead of the words themselves.

Conversation is limited and fragmentary. Current and past conversations intersect, interweave and overlap in a confusion that is not always easy to follow. I felt like I was watching the first draft. The text seems unfinished.

Christopher Godwin skillfully alternates between senility (not being able to recognize his son and speak properly) to being fully conscious.

Hopefully, this production will prompt someone to think about reviving the awardee York realist.

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Robert Tanitch reviews Peter Gill’s Something in the Air at Jermyn Street Theatre, London