THEATRE / David Benedict on Theatre

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Starving Artists' first London show at the beleagured Finborough Theatre, was about queer bashing, counterbalanced by the use of a traditional Hawaiian male religious dance. Audiences loved it, but Whitbread didn't - and it owned the theatre. When director Cathryn Horn booked the next show, the company tried (unsuccessfully) to ban it.

Disillusioned with this country, writer Godfrey Hamilton had already left to live with performer Mark Pinkosh (right, with Bruce Tegart) on Monterey Bay. Shuttling between continents has given him a distinct perspective. Last year's Sleeping With You, a runner-up for the Independent Theatre Award, prompted the Drill Hall's Julie Parker to commission his Kissing Marianne, which has just opened there.

'Kissing Marianne is about the collision between head and heart, a very British dilemma seen through American eyes, says Hamilton. 'The British are nervous of anything that happens below the neck. And they expect it all to be so serious. I hate drama-as-therapy stuff. Audiences are startled at how funny the work is.'

All his work is written for Pinkosh, who says: 'We know each other's rhythms, which makes it very exciting to perform. In addition to the sexual politics, Godfrey has an incredibly evocative sense of landscape, of mood and place. This piece is also a love poem to Marianne Faithfull. You can take the boy out of the Sixties, but you can't take the Sixties out of the boy.'

Drill Hall: 071-637 8270; see ticket offers, p13

(Photograph omitted)