Willie and Sebastian, Gilded Balloon, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Gilded Balloon
Ian Pattison (writer) Sam Kane (director)
Andy Gray (Willie), Grant Stott (Sebastian) and Michele Gallagher (Rachel)
Running time

An exposé of excess that is high on salaciousness but low on sympathy.

Willie Donaldson and Sebastian Horsley were two men involved in the art world. Sebastian (Grant Stott ) was a would be painter turned outrageous dandy. Donaldson (Andy Gray) was a theatre producer who launched several now big names. Both had a gift for squandering huge amounts of money; both were crack cocaine addict and both fell in love with the same woman, Rachel Garley.

The results of the uncomfortable ménage à trois is at the core of this new play set in Donaldson’s shambolic living room. From the start profanities abound with some direct interaction with at least the front row of the audience. It’s not the first time that Gray has got his kit off on stage but in this case a camel coat and pants is suitably seedier than full nudity. And taking crack from the crack of your arse seems to be in keeping with the life style of the protagonists.

Michele Gallagher gives a good performance as their shared lover, Rachel, but lacks the raw vampy look of her former page 3 character and while Stott’s supposed raffish outfit is remarkable to say the least it holds no sense of the bohemian wearer that Horsely was. The musical bookending of the hymn When I survey the wondrous cross and Marc Bolam’s 20th Century Boy nicely encapsulates the crucifixion that Horsley undertook in the Philippines in pursuit of his art.

Last year Gray and Stott tread the boards at the Fringe to great acclaim with Kiss Me Honey, Honey, a show that played brilliantly well to their comedic strengths and long standing working relationship as Panto stars. This is an altogether darker and more ambitious piece that sat ill with what is perceived to be their general good natured manner. The duo’s natural comic engagement shone through but seemed incongruous when playing this particular debauched duo and even the drama of the shooting is lost in buffoonery. There are plenty of laughs raised but no sorrow when the profligate pair finally leave the party.

Dates: 8th – (not 17th) 31st August, at 20.15