Performed straight-through and lasting for little over an hour, DV8 Physical Theatre's stunning new show can fairly be described as a short, sharp shock.
Based on 85 interviews and vox pops conducted with people from a wide variety of backgrounds in London in 2006-7, it is a wake-up call for those unaware of the creeping renaissance of homophobia, largely driven by religious bigotry, even in liberal Britain. As one interviewee quoted in the show sums it up, legislation such as the introduction of civil partnerships has made him feel freer, yet he feels less safe on the streets.
Making extensive use of text drawn directly from the interviews, To Be Straight With You combines good journalism in the old tradition of TV documentaries with rare theatrical invention.
It is packed with wonderfully imaginative ideas - for example, when a cast member gives an overview of worldwide attitudes towards homosexuality inside a transparent illuminated globe, which he spins around him to make his points.
There is also an extremely effective use of projection on to gauze screens, show-ing the lyrics of homophobic pop songs or - breathtakingly - to create a drawn interior around a performer who at one point actually opens and walks through a virtual door.
The show links the stories of a wide range of characters, from gay Muslims to (the comic relief) born-again Christians who think gays can be "cured". A multi-cultural and flexible cast of nine gifted per-formers copes with speech and movement with equal ease, often at the same time. There is a particular tour-de-force from Ankur Bahl, who tells the sad story of an Asian teenager in Hull coming out to his parents - with disastrous results - while simultaneously giving the most virtuosic display of skipping I have ever seen.
The show points a finger at a number of culprits in turn, starting with Jamaican culture (both popular and official) and working round to Islamic and Christian fundamentalism. Measured and extensively researched, it's the most informative 75 minutes I have spent in a theatre for a long time, yet also the most magical.
DV8's artistic director Lloyd Newson is a theatrical genius, worthy of comparison with Peter Brook in his prime.