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Edinburgh Fringe 2016 Review: F*cking Men

King's Head Theatre impress with an honest, thought-provoking production. Amy Gibbons reviews

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When you go to review a show packed with cheap affairs, swearing and full frontal nudity, you don't particularly expect to be charmed. However F*cking Men, set in an intimate lecture hall-style venue on the fringes of George Square (no pun intended), is a production actually quite heartwarming, touching and poignant, as much about sensibility as it is about sex.

The three cast members play ten different characters whose stories pose controversial questions about monogamy and gay culture; honest and sweet but nothing extraordinary, the show unravels complicated semi-open relationships, seemingly with the intent to imply long-term love and commitment are preferred. However, while the characters do come into their own as light is shed on the damages of their infidelity, both to themselves and their partners, the play doesn't come to any convincing conclusions. Lacking true punch until the end, the momentum mounts to isolated climaxes (again, no pun intended) - and a happy ending apparently only for one couple. We're left with mixed emotions of hope and heartbreak, conviction and concern.

The set is impressively managed; minimalist, with just a couple of boxes and blankets to work with, it gives precedence to bodies and expressions which best compliment the tone of the play. The production falls down somewhat on its writing, with often slightly wooden dialogue and the odds bout of over-acting. The stories are also a little repetitive, and given the limited cast members this can cause confusion with the plot; but that doesn't really matter - productions like this appeal to a general feeling of empathy, a charm that isn't necessarily contained in a rigid plot. And for what it is, F*cking Men is a worthy find.

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