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It’s no secret that I love an outing to the theatre, but this outing was extra special to me for two reasons:

1. It is my first time out to the theatre since my Foot and Ankle surgery in August, which I can attend thanks to my trusty knee scooter (don’t ask just search google if you’re curious)

2. The story resonates with me in a very relatable way having returned home from the big smoke of London myself only to find love in the city I lived and studied in, though I am 10 years younger than the main character.

Big Man is a well-put-together one-man show, that follows the story of Mark a 50-year-old successful gay man struggling to adjust after returning to Belfast after years in London and a 12-year relationship drought, only to meet potentially the man of his dreams in the Spaniard bar after arranging to meet him from a gay dating app.

Upon meeting “The One” Mark embarks on an exciting and thrilling experience of what he hopes has the potential to be his next big relationship in his life back home among the other adjustments of his move. Throughout the play, you hear about the ups, downs and challenges of this newfound love, from the differences in music tastes/eras to the lived-in experiences from across the age gap. Though Mark never uses the name of “the one” or as he refers to him fondly throughout the play “the wee man” you can’t help but feel you know them both as familiar faces from the local but growing gay community that is Belfast.

Big Man playfully but factually touches on the hazards and experiences of gay dating apps, which I am sure any gay man will relate to what Mark refers to as the 5% club - I’ll let you find out what that is for yourself when you go to see this play, which is all excellently depicted by actor Tony Flynn in not just standard conversation but also through a physically animated poetic rhythm, which draws you in to invest in the story. The script and dialogue are totally within the style of writing Paul McVeigh has become known for through his fictional short story writings.

The staging and lighting set the mood of the story throughout and puts me in mind of the last “one-man show” (one-woman show in this case) that I saw and reviewed at the Lyric “This Sh*t happens all the time” which like this is a one-person masterpiece.

Review by Gary Campion

The Big Man runs at the Lyric Theatre Belfast until November 13th - you can get tickets via this link Big Man | Lyric Theatre Belfast


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