Jonathan Harvey’s heart-wrenching and hilarious play is about five people who are irrational, lonely, loving, a little bit crazy, and very real.
In the middle flat at 15 Rupert Street lives Shaun, a hairdresser whose girlfriend has gone to Barbados for a funeral. Staying with him while she’s away is his gay elder brother Marti, who practically brought him up. As Shaun says, he was weaned on queenery, and the brothers can perform the greatest scenes of gay cinema by heart.
Living downstairs is George, a secondary-school English teacher who can’t stop mentioning her ex-boyfriend. Living upstairs is the eccentric Clarine, or is it Zoe Wanamaker? Clarine’s identity is a little wobbly. And Shaun’s brought Dean over, a transvestite also known as Fifi Trixabelle La Bouche.
The group is rather a mis-matched one in the first place, and things only get worse when Shaun begins to go to pieces in his girlfriend’s absence, creating a moving and tender psychological drama, flecked with Harvey’s inescapable wit.
Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club was first produced in 1995 at the Contact Theatre, Manchester.