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Kevin Elyot's Coming Clean returns to Trafalgar Studios in January 2020

Coming Clean Poster. Credit: Joseph Sinclair.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING a critically-acclaimed, sell-out run earlier this year, the King’s Head Theatre’s revival of Kevin Elyot’s Coming Clean is returning to Trafalgar Studios 2 for a strictly limited four week season – from January 8 to February 1, 2020.

In 2017, Adam Spreadbury-Maher, Artistic Director of the King’s Head Theatre, directed the 35th anniversary production and the first London revival of Coming Clean, Kevin Elyot’s first play, which transferred to Trafalgar Studios 2 earlier this year.

The play, which premiered at the Bush Theatre on November 3, 1982, looks at the breakdown of a gay couple’s relationship and examines complex questions of fidelity and love.

The play is set in a flat in Kentish Town, north London, in 1982. Struggling writer Tony and his partner of five years, Greg, seem to have the perfect relationship. Committed and in love, they are both open to one-night stands as long as they don’t impinge on the relationship. But Tony is starting to yearn for something deeper, something more like monogamy. When he finds out that Greg has been having a full-blown affair with their cleaner, Robert, their differing attitudes towards love and commitment become clear.

In his foreword to Kevin Elyot: Four Plays (Nick Hern Books, 2004), Elyot writes: “From 1976 to 1984 I’d acted in several productions at the Bush Theatre, and Simon Stokes, one of the artistic directors, had casually suggested I try my hand at a play. I presented them with a script entitled Cosy, which was passed on to their literary manager Sebastian Born. He responded favourably and, largely through his support, it finally opened on November 3, 1982 under the [new] title Coming Clean.”

Written 12 years before his most famous play, My Night With Reg, Coming Clean won Elyot the Samuel Beckett Award for writers showing particular promise in the field of the performing arts.

Theatre critic Michael Coveney wrote of Elyot in his obituary for The Guardian in 2014: “In writing about the human heart and the art of living… Elyot transcended categorisation and produced a small body of stage plays that will reward revival, and not just as period pieces.” Coveney goes on to describe Coming Clean as “an elegiac play about sexual relationships at a time when Aids was still a barely credible rumour in Britain, but there was a sense of foreboding in the final scene.”

Coming Clean is directed by Adam Spreadbury-Maher, with set designed by Amanda Mascarenhas, and lighting by Nic Farman. It is being produced in the West End by King’s Head Theatre, Making Productions and RGM Productions in association with DeVere Productions.

Casting has not yet been announced.

Tickets: Previews: All £20. Monday to Thursday (and Saturday Matinees): £25 – £30. Friday and Saturday Evenings: £30 – £40. To book, call the box office on 0844 871 7632 or visit

Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.45pm (except Friday, January 10 at 7pm), Thursday and Saturday at 3pm.

Also at Trafalgar Studios: Peter Nichols’ funny and moving masterpiece A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (until November 30) and the world premiere of The Girl Who Fell (October 15 to November 23, 2019).