Edinburgh Festival: Positive (3 stars)

For a play about HIV, there are some refreshingly funny moments in Shaun Kitchener’s new comedy about “getting on with it”. It follows twentysomething Benji, on a search for a boyfriend who isn’t repelled by his illness, and his female friend Nikki who has also been diagnosed as positive.

After an overacted and unbelievable scene in a gay club, a warm and engaging story emerges with Kitchener (who also performs) capturing the kind of everyday banter and jokes people have with one another even – or perhaps especially – when attempting to deal with traumatic life events.

While some moments are more authentic than others and the message of tolerance can feel a bit self-conscious, the dialogue rattles along and ultimately wins you over through some touching but never sentimental scenes. There is a moving use of flashback at the end when we see how Benji and Nikki first met, and we realise just how far they have come since.

Ultimately, it’s a piece that shows how an illness that was once seen as a death sentence nowadays needn’t be treated as such.

Written for The Scotsman


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