The timing was far too rapid: Guy died within two years of being infected, which is just too fast. There was no sense of how people cope with long- term illness: I would have expected someone like Reg who was obviously well-loved and well-liked to have had a wide friendship network that would have pulled together to make his life with Aids as palatable as possible.
The inability of the characters to talk to each other was staggering. One of the things that Aids has done for a lot of gay men is to strip away pretence and almost enforce an honesty of communication. With the exception of the bus driver, they were all presented as educated, successful, reasonably well-off people. People like that would be far more adept at relating to one another: there would have been medical debate, political debate and emotional sharing, whereas it all seemed to happen in a vacuum.
Nothing was ever resolved and if there's one thing that living with any potentially fatal illness does it's encourage you to resolve things. No anger, pain or courage really came through, and those are what have marked the response to this illness by the wide variety of people who have been touched by it.
My Night with Reg was a real missed opportunity: it's so rare to have a thoughtful play about Aids and HIV on national television. These are skilful actors, yet they are wasted in a claustrophobic environment in which so little happens that has any emotional resonance. At another level too much happens: too many people die too quickly, and yet you hardly notice.
Nick Partridge is chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, the Aids charity. Helpline: 0171 242 1010.Reuse content