The Boys in the Band review – fierce fun and games in the pre-Aids era

This new film version of the off-Broadway hit about gay lives in New York is strange, compelling and unexpectedly potentIt’s hammy and stagey and campy, but The Boys in the Band turns out to have a fiercely watchable soap-operatic intensity, a sustained attack of telenovela craziness, culminating in a full-on anxiety attack from its leading character.

It’s based on the 1968 off-Broadway hit by Mart Crowley (who died in March this year) about a group of gay men in New York gathering for a birthday party in an era before Stonewall, before Aids, a time when metropolitan sophisticates sort of tolerated “swishiness” in the bohemian arts scene, and when Gore Vidal was saying, pour épater les bourgeois, that there were homosexual acts but no homosexual people.The play was turned into a film directed by William Friedkin in 1970 and the title is taken from the line in A Star Is Born

Read full article