I visited the Manchester Royal Exchange to see this production because I wouldn’t be able to catch it in Leeds at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, which is nearer to me.
I’m glad I saw it and it was an extra treat to see Robert Gilbert just out of the RSCs Henry plays playing Sam. Rolling Stone is the story of a young Ugandan man, Dembe (Fiston Barek), who is in love with a Northern Irish teacher, Sam. As this is Uganda, being gay can be dangerous. Chris Urch’s Bruntwood Prize winning play takes the audience through the love in the relationship between Sam and Dembe to the harrowing consequences. It explores the different approaches to sexuality seen through the eyes of the Northern Irish man who wants Dembe to be open about his sexuality, and the fear that there is in a country like Uganda where men are murdered if they are gay.
I liked the way that the actors stayed on stage and watched, including the intimate private moments between Dembe and Sam. This approach reminds the audience that they are also voyeurs. Overall this was an excellent production and superbly acted.