012 Contemporary Comedy – Old
A friend recommended What Does the K Stand For? last year, so I was glad I had the chance to listen to them, they’re hilarious! I wasn’t familiar with Stephen K Amos, but he’s very funny; as he puts it, these plays (performed live in front of an audience) are about growing up gay and Black in south London in the 1980s. Amos’ outrageous Nigerian mother dominates, though Don Gilet puts in an amusing performance as Amos’ father. Amos and his twin sister Stephanie go through strange experiences at school, and Amos contrasts life in the early ‘80s with life today, commenting particularly on celebrity and diversity. “The Cat Next Door” involved a Black actress from CATS moving in next door and incurring Virginia Amos’ wrath. In “Balham Side Story,” Amos was acting in the school play, and when a talent scout wanted him to go audition for Bugsy Malone, his parents refused to let him leave the house as they considered acting close to prostitution and wanted him to become a doctor. Evidently, the satire on Amos’ parents has a sharp edge because they often come across as parochial, foolish, and backward—but they’re still his parents. One of the funniest moments was when Stephanie said she knew Amos wasn’t gay because he had pictures of Bette Midler all over his room. “You fancy her like mad.” The third play was more serious in tone and ended with Vincent Amos being arrested for drunk-driving when he was stone-cold sober by a racist cop who faked his Breathalyzer results. The happy ending was that the judgment was overturned eventually, and Virginia’s faith in the British justice system was finally justified. They starred Stephen K Amos, Wishakilali Soah, Watu Soah, Ellen Thomas, Gemma Wheelan, Rachel Atkins, and David Sedden, and were directed by Colin Anderson.