Love me for who I am! Boys in the Buff is a diverting piece that explores body acceptance in all its shapes and sizes. It is 2023 and one would hope that we would not need a play like this; but, whenever you leave the house, go to the movies or – God forbid – open social media, unrealistic beauty standards are being pushed on all of us. Countless women have been comparing themselves to an unachievable standard – and who would have thought that men struggle with exactly the same thing?

Boys in the Buff is a show about a show; basically, four boys and a big-hearted mama prepare for their big night performing at a strip show, when one of them has second thoughts. Suddenly he realises that he feels uncomfortable in his own skin, especially as he fears having certain “shortcomings” and would be compared to bigger men by the audience. This confession leads to a concatenation of tales from the other boys, admitting they are not or have not been as confident with their bodies as they now appear – and a journey towards body acceptance begins.

What a message – both body shaming and the idea that you just have to love your own body to make all your troubles go away are hurtful and unhealthy. But in going down the road of acceptance rather than unconditional positivity, writer Chris Burgess finds just the right tone.

Looking at the show as a whole, however, it just failed to come together as a piece. Boys in the Buff is more or less a related string of retold events rather than a cohesive story. Luckily the message shines through, but I would have loved more of an arch. I also wished for more connecting of the dots rather than throwing some scenes in which do not progress the story. But the entire cast carries their story and contributes a lot of individuality which makes the play very relatable. I enjoyed the overall strong vocals as well as acknowledging the individual talent when it came to dancing.

Overall, I feel Boys in the Buff could tell an important story; in a world where photoshopped superstars and slimming shakes that promise you more weight loss in fewer days are more present than ever, this message very much needs to be heard.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Boys in the Buff is heading to Edinburgh Fringe – info here!

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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