The hidden world of gay premiership footballers is put under the spotlight in searing drama The Pass starring Russell Tovey (Being Human/Him & Her) and rising actor Arinzé Kene.
In a Bulgarian hotel room, the night before an important match, aspiring players Jason (Tovey) and Ade (Kene) are awaiting the results of their 90-minutes on the field that will determine their futures. But amid the banter, play-fighting and drinking, the sexual tension between the two semi-naked team-mates escalates until one kisses the other… and its the emotional impact of this ‘pass’ that plays out through the next 10 years with the two men facing success and failure in their personal and professional lives…
John Donnelly’s sharply observed 2014 chamber piece is skilfully adapted here by director Ben A Williams, who retains the play’s claustrophobic atmosphere by staging the drama in three hotel rooms, with each one reflecting the changing fortunes of Jason, terrifically played here by Tovey (who reprises his role from the original Royal Court production).
His character is deftly-conceived, but also very real – he’s a man whose refusal to accept his homosexuality ends up turning him into a self-destructive monster and watching Tovey move from innocence to fear and then to loneliness is what drives the intense drama that grips you from the outset and reels you in until the steamy final scene that will leave you breathless.
Watch out for Hollyoaks’ Nico Mirallegro, who also reprises his stage role as hotel porter Harry. His blistering retort after being humiliated by Tovey’s Jason during a drinking game highlights Donnelly’s cracking writing, which casts a dark shadow over the beautiful game where money and status prevails over all.
Out now on DVD from Lions Gate Home Entertainment