Recalling Gay Romantic Realities

“… and eventually there was a divorce.  And all that, you must remember was not how things were then in St Albans.”


Ian Gelder as Colin and Christopher Godwin as Alex (Photo: Steve Gregson)

Peter Gill’s plays remain with you for their delicacy and how they make you feel.  His latest has two elderly men in a care home somewhere, seated in two high backed chairs, covered in orange plastic found in those sitting rooms where the residents line up along the walls. In a series of monologues, the men describe their past love life with other men.

I first thought as Alex (Christopher Godwin) beautifully described the Thames near Hammersmith that he was walking along to visit his lover, that his lover was Colin (Ian Gelder) the man sitting next to him.  As occupational information emerged I realised his lover could not be Colin. 

Colin is not his past but his present and future, as they sit together, Alex’s hand on Colin’s. 

As men in their eighties, they are recalling a time when homosexuality was criminalised and had to be covert.  They have two visitors, Colin’s niece Clare (Claire Price) and Alex’s son Andrew (Andrew Woodall).  Alex thinks that his son visiting him is not Andrew but Robert and he worries about where Rpobert’s dog is. Both refuse to believe that these elderly men have a romantic homoerotic connection.  Andrew persistently tries to remove Alex’s hand from Colin’s and Clare says, “It’s an expression of friendship. They’re friends.” 

Ian Gelder as Colin and Christopher Godwin as Alex (Photo: Steve Gregson)

Looking at the text, an invaluable resource when getting to terms with Peter Gill’s play, it seems that both men are talking to their lover and there are two younger actors standing at the sides, Sam Thorpe-Spinks as Gareth who knew Alex and James Scofield as Nicholas, Colin’s lover.  Gareth and Nicholas have very little to do or say. 

The personalities of the two men emerge.  Alex decides to get married and have a family, ditching his lover to do so but he remains serially unfaithful to his wife and to the gay men he was in a relationship with.  His bisexuality is reflected when he says, “My alternate sex fantasies were Russ Tamblyn or Brigitte Bardot.”

Ian Gelder’s Colin is softer and more lovable than Alex, maybe I was affected by his loyalty but of course both men are totally believable.  Colin describes supporting a man dying from AIDS and his funeral. Alex says he was incapable of being faithful.  Their joint desire is to share a room.

The construct of the play is quite complex and hard to follow as Colin talks about the funeral of a friend while Alex’s son Andrew describes to Clare what happened to his brother Robert. The play is full of cross talk happening almost simultaneously and you would certainly benefit from reading the text to fully immerse yourself in the densely beautiful, descriptive prose.  I was wondering whether it could be a novel rather than intertwining each man’s story. 

claire Price as Clare (Photo: Steve Gregson)

Production Notes

Something in the Air

Written by Peter Gill

Directed by Alice Hamilton and Peter Gill



Christopher Godwin

Andrew Woodall

Claire Price

Ian Gelder

Sam Thorpe-Spinks

James Schofield


Director: Alice Hamilton and Peter Gill 

Designer:  Anett Black and Neil Irish

Lighting Designer: Jamie Platt

Sound Designer: Harry Blake


Running Time: One hour 10 minutes without an interval

Booking to 12th November 2022


Jermyn Street Theatre

Jermyn Street

London SW1Y 6ST

Website: Jermyn Street Theatre

Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge

at Jermyn Street Theatre

on  25th October 2022