Composers and their stage works 

My Night With RegMy Night With Reg


Kevin Elyot

6m. Comedy. Single interior set.

Premiered at the Royal Court in 1994, and then moving to the West End with John Sessions, this play about gay morals and manners won both the Evening Standard and Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Comedy, as well as awards from the Writer's Guild and Critic's Circle. It has since been filmed for the BBC.

  • 'It marks the coming of age for plays which portray gay men' Jack Tinker, Daily Mail

  • 'The best new play I've seen since I started reviewing' Paul Taylor, Independent

ISBN 1 85459 358 7

Entirely set among London's gay community in the mid-1980s against the background of the mounting AIDS crisis, My Night with Reg follows the ups and downs of a circle of homosexual friends over a period of several years. One of the group, the Reg mentioned in the title, is not a character in the play but the whole plot revolves around his apparent promiscuity and the chain reaction of deception and betrayal set off by it. All three scenes are set in the sitting room of Guy's London apartment: during Guy's flatwarming party (Scene 1); after Reg's funeral, some years later (Scene 2); and after Guy's funeral (Scene 3).

The group, most of them in their thirties, meet at irregular intervals, often at Guy's place. Guy himself is a lonely man. Ever since their university days, he has had a crush on John, but he has never dared to tell him about it. Rather, he lives a solitary life, which he only spices up with phone sex and an occasional visit to a gay pub -- that is where he meets 18 year-old Eric, who then helps him decorate his new flat. On holiday on the island of Lanzarote, he meets a gay man who eventually forces himself on Guy and has unprotected sex with him -- the last thing Guy has been looking for. At his flatwarming party, he has just come back from his holiday and is still quite shocked about what happened. It is hard for him not to start crying when, as a present, John gives him a cookery book specialising in dishes for one.

The most popular of the gay circle is Reg, who is conspicuously absent from the party. Reg has had a long-term relationship with Daniel, but Daniel himself suspects Reg of occasionally being unfaithful to him. In fact Reg seems to be sleeping with every man he can get hold of (as it seems, even with the vicar). In the course of the play, John, Benny and even his seemingly faithful companion Bernie have secret sex with Reg. Ironically, they all confide in Guy. It hurts Guy most to hear that John — whom he himself fancies — is having an affair with Reg, thus betraying their mutual friend Daniel. After his fling with Reg, Benny panics because he thinks he might have contracted HIV, but he does not confess it to his partner, Bernie.

When Reg is dying from AIDS, he is looked after by his partner, Daniel. Ironically again, the next one to die is Guy, the only one who has not had sex with Reg and who seems to have been infected with AIDS when he was raped during his holiday in Lanzarote. Guy bequeaths his new flat to the love of his life, John (who does not need it at all because he comes from a rich background). It is John who, somewhere in the flat, finds all kinds of memorabilia dating back to their student days.

My Night with Reg was described [1] as "a poignant, beautifully written play ...., warm and funny, but also completely believable, with characters who are more than just ciphers or symbols and emotional themes which are more than just rhetorical window-dressing."