In his introduction, Michael Wilcox writes: 'I always thought Rents was about money and survival rather than homosexuality . . . [it] was written in Edinbugh and Newcastle in 1976. That's before we had heard of AIDS and at a time when Scottish law had not caught up with English law as far as homosexuality was concerned. In Scotland, all homosexual acts between males of any age and in any circumstances were criminal offences with the ultimate threat of life imprisonment for those found guilty.'
Richard is a university lecturer, looking to have a good time with Phil, the housemate and 'companion' of Robert, who works in a men's clothes shops and is, by his own admission 'Edinburgh's leading authority on inside legs'. Together they form the 'Rents' a group of men whose time can be bartered for or bought, be it by an employer or a client.
Described by Time Out magazine as 'a superb and touching comedy about the lives of two rent-boys in Edinburgh', Rents was first produced by the Traverse Theatre Company during the 1979 Edinburgh International Festival.