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These Five Guys Tackle Chem Sex, Addiction & Grindr Obsession

5 Guys Chillin'

Don't be fooled by hot guys in jock straps — this new play by Peter Darney delivers an important message. 

Every once in a blue moon a play comes along so intimate and real that as an audience member you’re scared to cough, even breathe. You’re unsure if you are watching actors pretend to be other people or are experiencing something else. Well, 5 Guys Chillin’ is one of those plays.

Set at a sex “chill” party, the play involves five guys in London — each with their own hang ups around sex and drug addiction — who meet up for a night of fun, only to discover they’re not quite as content in their choices as it seems. The guys talk about drugs, sex, and bad experiences surrounding chem-sex, and while at times it can appear judgmental or preachy, it gives solid information around a hot button issue that's as important in the U.S. as it is in the play's setting.


In the United Kingdom alone, 1 in 10 gay men are HIV-positive (two of the characters in the play are open about being poz as well) and the numbers continue to rise. According to, there were 6,151 new HIV infections in 2014 alone. And with the normality of hookup apps liike Scruff and Hornet, at least seeing profiles of guys who practice chem sex (where gay and bi men take drugs like GHB or crystal meth before engaging in sex) has become quite routine.

A 2014 U.K. chem sex study showed that 19 percent of gay men used the designer drugs GHV/GBL in the previous six months, 10 percent had taken crystal meth, and 21 percent had taken ephedrine. What’s even more disturbing is the rising popularity of chem-sex among gay teenagers having sex for the first time, in part because chances of aquiring HIV are raised dramatically when drugs and sex are combined. 

Written and directed by Peter Darney, 5 Guys Chillin' was inspired both by interviews and nearly 50 hours of material taken from guys on Grindr and other social media sites.

The play was a hit at the Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, and thankfully the original cast performed in New York, including Elliot Hadley (winner of the best actor award at Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival), who gave a truly honest and effortless performance. The rest of the cast includes Cesare Scarpone, Adi Chugh, Richard De Lisle, and Rick Yale — all of whom committed to their roles with such force it completely transformed the theater into a London flat.

It takes courage to put on a play with five guys in jock straps about to have sex and not have it be about the sex, but rather the search behind it — or what's missing. In doing so, 5 Guys Chillin’ sets out to highlight the growing chem-sex community, and it does just that. It leaves you stunned by the bravery of these actors on stage, while also giving you a serious reality check that these stories are real. And they're everywhere, not just London or New York. 

Sat. Oct. 8 and Sun. Oct. 9 are the last two days to see 5 Guys Chilln's at SoHo Playhouse in New York City. Visit here for more details. 


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