It’s a rivalry more or less twenty years in the making. Ever since Adam Fisher and Thomas Fox first met, first acted opposite each other in drama school, they knew there was something about the other man that challenged them, drew out their best work, and infuriated them in equal measure. They’ve played supporting roles to each other, shared billing, and competed for awards, but this play is the one that has their names on everyone’s lips. In this play Adam and Thomas play lovers.
Considering how well they know each other, and that both men are extraordinary actors, this play — this one scene in the play — shouldn’t be a problem. It’s a kiss. A simple kiss. Both men have kissed other actors, other actresses, so why can’t they kiss each other? Thomas and Adam refuse to let this scene get the better of them. With a bottle of wine, a bit of rain, and a night in Adam’s apartment, the two of them come together to see if they can’t manage a little bit of something like romance.
This is a simple story of rivals turned lovers using alcohol to dull the cutting edge of their animosity. Unfortunately, they were at their most interesting when they were going at each other’s throats as opposed to going at each other’s pants.
Thomas is quieter and more sedate to Adam’s flamboyant personality. Adam is all about the reaction, the adoration, and the attention while Thomas … isn’t? Not much is said about Thomas as a person, which makes a bit of sense as the story is told from his perspective. However, it left me feeling rather meh in regard to Thomas. I didn’t even really get a feeling of rivalry between them, for all that they’re both in the same very public field, but the sniping between them as they open the bottle of wine is amusing.
The love scene didn’t work for me for two reasons. First, through much of it Adam is reciting lines from various plays. This means he either isn’t that interested in what Thomas is doing, enough so that he’s able to quote lines of poetry and dialogue during the act, or this is all just another role for him. He is deliberately performing, even while making out and then making love with someone.
My second is that the scene was so dragged out. I know how the story is going to end. What makes me want to read a story like this is everything that leads up to it: the tension, the drama. I want to see that explosion of personalities, the supernova of passion that happens when two characters who snap and snarl at each other finally fall into bed together. Instead, it’s a lengthy display of Adam’s ability to memorize poetry and Thomas admiring Adam, and this book is only some 30 pages long. I don’t think quite so many needed to be devoted to the tepid climax when the characters truly shone in the scant few moments where they argued. If the story is going to be all about the sex, it had better be really good sex, not just … sex.
This isn’t really a rivals to lovers as much as it is two guys who work in the same office decide to hook up because… why not? The first third of this story is strong, and the writing is clean and the dialogue entertaining. I wanted fireworks at the end, but this story just fizzled out.