With startling candour and near-forensic detail, real life couple Christopher Adams (primarily a writer-and 2011/12 US Fulbright scholar) and Timothy Allsop (primarily an actor) investigate/interrogate their choice to live in an open relationship and the consequences (seen and unforeseen) thereof. Playfully, and with disarming alacrity, the two men canvass the crowd for participation, handing over transcripts of Grindr chats and personal email correspondence for audience members to read out (Chris is fond of Excel spreadsheets indexing his sexual conquests). They pore over verbatim conversations from key moments in their partnership, unsparing in their brutal, confrontational honesty: a strong foundation is a given, in that the two men have withstood the travails of such inexorable frankness whereas many would have tumbled (within these parameters, Chris and Tim have acknowledged their devotion through civil partnership and, eventually, marriage).
The key success of this hour-long confessional is that, with great cheer and light-hearted aplomb, the couple convincingly legitimises their personal choice, all the while never ignoring probable pitfalls and minefields that lay in wait, nor all the potential dangers (any one of the cardboard boxes that litter the stage-simple symbols of all that is being unpacked- could be a Pandora’s Box of credible threat or catastrophe). Sober recollections of harassment gone unreported, STD’s caught, ugly arguments had, unflattering disclosures from bedmates, and unintended emotional connections with hook-ups are divulged. Clear heads must prevail, and neither Chris nor Tim for a moment denies that it takes great vigilance and focus to maintain clarity. Even with such directness, as Tim explains in a closing statement, there are still fascinating dimensions of the relationship unknown or unrevealed to us, as it should be-covenants and arrangements between two people comprehended only by them. Open ran from 23-27 January as part of Vault festival