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                Red Light Winter tells the witty, thought-provoking, and ultimately heart-rending story of two New Yorkers abroad, thirty-somethings Matt (Ilan Goodman) and Davis(Keir Charles) – and the beautiful prostitute Christina (Sally Tatum) whose path they cross in Amsterdam.  The play twists a classic plot of unrequited love with personal tragedy and sharp-edged humour, but all within a stunningly raw contemporary setting.

                Adam Rapp’s dialogue brings to life the themes of male sexuality and hidden identities, removing the veil that society often places over such subjects. While introverted, bookish playwright Matt gives Amsterdam’s Red Light District an almost redemptive and uplifting air, his loutish best friend Davis strips that back to its seedier roots. The audience is able to see both sides of this curious way of life at once – the drugs and disease alongside a sense of hope, even vulnerability.

                Ilan Goodman, Keir Charles and Sally Tatum inhabited their roles with startling truth and bravery. In Goodman and Tatum’s case, stepping out naked on-stage in such an intimate studio as the Ustinov takes true courage. Both actors are truly heart-breaking in their roles. Keir Charles, as Davis, particularly catches the imagination as the egotistical consequence of the American Dream; a man led to believe he can take whatever he wants at no cost at all.

                Red Light Winter continues at the Ustinov Studio until 31st March as part of the Studio’s American Season. More information can be found at http://www.theatreroyal.org.uk/

Lauren Clinch