Sexy, funny, full of heart and great characters with the added comfort of one of them always putting the kettle on
There is a moment in The York Realist which reminded me of that shower scene with Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus.
It involves Yorkshire farmhand George (Ben Batt) stripped to the waist and washing in the kitchen sink after a hard day's work but while Hiddleston's shower scene was calculated to show the weary and battle-injured Coriolanus, this scene was all about the look on the face of an observer.
Ben Batt (George) and Jonathan Bailey (John) in The York Realist at the Donmar Warehouse. Photo by Johan Persson
John (Jonathan Bailey) is the assistant director on an amateur production of the Mystery Plays in nearby York who has come to persuade George to return to rehearsals.
When he catches a glimpse of George's damp, muscular torso it leaves you in no doubt about his feelings.
Another parallel that sprung to mind was last year's film God's Own Country which was also a gay love story set in rural Yorkshire.
The York Realist is far less explicit than God's Own Country, it is all flirtation, all expectation but boy is it sexy. The invisible chemistry is electric. Lines about Vaseline got extra laughs, I'm sure, to ease the tension.
More than that is the conflict within George. Not so much to do with his sexuality - he seems refreshingly at ease with that - but more to do with the world that a relationship with metropolitan, middle-class John offers him.
While his mother is still alive it anchors him to the farm and the community where he grew up. It also offers him a protection of sorts against the expectations of the local community: Job, marriage, family.
At home, looking after his mother he's 'not the marrying type' despite the best efforts of wholesome, church-going Doreen (Katie West).
But when the opportunity arises it is a question of where his heart lies. And later the body language and facial expressions will reveal a different, deeper set of emotions between George and John that make the flirtation seem frothy in comparison.
The York Realist is God's Own Country crossed with My Night With Reg - sexy, funny, full of heart and great characters with the added comfort of one of them always putting the kettle on. I'm giving it 5 stars.
It's an hour and 45 minutes with an interval is at the Donmar Warehouse until March 24.
A note about seats. The set sticks out a bit on the right hand side (low seat numbers) and I wonder how much that obscures the view. If you have seats on the left hand side (high seat numbers) you can see into the kitchen and there are some important looks/reactions from characters while stood there which you might not see from the other side of the stage.