In contrast with Accounts and Lent, Massage presents the confusion of discovering one’s sexuality from the perspective of an adult who is already sexually developed. It tells the story of Tony Dodge, a bicycle builder, and his ambiguous relationship with Simon, the twelve-year-old son of his former girlfriend Jane. As in Lent, this play does not explicitly address the notions of homosexuality and paedophilia that it suggests. Instead, Dodge displaces his feelings of lust toward Simon, and accordingly, his guilt and shame, with Rikki, a boy he hires from a massage agency. Rikki, himself, has endured sexual abuse in his childhood, and thus dissociates the emotional dimension from sexual relations; he considers it merely as an exploitative means to earn money.
Though all of the characters in Lent are technically heterosexual, they relate to each other in a way that Michael Wilcox describes as ‘sexual cannibalism’ – feeding off one another in a disturbing, visceral sense, in order to allay their own feelings of fear, uncertainty, and insecurity.
Massage is a single-scene play set in real time. As such, the audience is able to see on stage an organic response and resolution to the emotional chaos presented within it. The play was first performed in the Hammersmith Lyric Studio in London, in 1986.