Straight White Men in Raucous Celebration

Staff Reporter (22 October, 2021)

When personal identity is essential and privilege is a problem


Straight White Men by Korean American playwright Young Jean Lee, is a hilarious and revealing play about the most unoppressed of this world’s peoples.  They are feared, envied, occasionally attacked and derided. But pitied?  When personal identity is essential and privilege is a problem, what is a straight white man to do?   

Young Jean Lee – called ‘hands down, the most adventurous playwright of her generation’  – is a playwright whose work revels in subverting stereotypes.   Straight White Men takes place over the Christmas holidays, when three brothers assemble at the family home, to celebrate the season with their widowed father Ed played by Simon Rouse, best known for his role as DCI Jack Meadows in The Bill.  The youngest, Drew (Cary Crankson) is an award-winning fiction writer. The middle boy, Jake (Alex Mugnaioni) is a hotshot banker, but the oldest, Matt (Charlie Condou), is burdened by student debt and an unexplained failure to thrive.

Games are played.   Chinese food is ordered.  Brotherly pranks and trashtalk distract them from the issue that threatens to ruin the testosterone-fuelled, boys-will-be-boys celebration.  In this raucous, surprising and fearless work, Lee takes an outside look at the traditional father/son narrative, shedding new light on that theatrical storyline we have come to know all too well.

But, and here is the twist, the people in charge of proceedings are neither straight, nor white, nor male…

Straight White Men is directed by Steven Kunis.  The movement director is Christina Fulcher, set design is by Suzu Sakai, costume design by Beth Colley, sound design by Mwen and lighting design by Rajiv Pattani. Produced by David Adkin and Panorama Productions.

Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, London, SE1 6BD from Wednesday 10th November-Saturday 4th December. Times: Monday – Saturday 20:00, matinees Tuesdays and Saturdays at 15:30. Admission: £14 previews / £22 standard / £18 concessions / £7-£12 PAYG members



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Young Jean Lee