First Published: July 2005
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.
The London Gay Menís Chorus, the award-winning gay choir, takes a bold artistic step later this July when it presents the premiere of Youíll Do For Now, a new show specially devised for the chorus, exploring love, sex, cruising, AIDS, gay rights and what it means to be a gay man in 2005.
Following the lives of four men across the latter half of the 20th Century, the show uses song, dance, comedy and theatre to examine how todayís social and sexual freedoms are the result of past battles for gay rights, the battle against AIDS and our own personal battles to be who we truly are. Facets of gay life and history including the Wolfenden report, cottaging, online chat rooms, polari and club culture all come under examination.

Youíll Do For Now was conceived for The London Gay Menís Chorus by Ping-Kern Ng. It features two original compositions together with well known songs like Space Oddity and Something Inside So Strong as well music from Stephen Sondheim and Kander & Ebb. Ping has been talking to OutUK's Mike Gray about the show.

OutUK: What gave you the idea for creating this programme?
Ping-Kern Ng: I was drawn to the notion of creating a concert that moved like a musical, being a huge show-queen myself. As far as a topic was concerned, it was going to be a gay version of Sex & The City, with the four characters being conveniently represented by the four voice parts in a choir.
I realised pretty early on that exaggerating the age differences amongst them would mean that each would've come out or grown up in a different 'time' and allow for some sort of socio-political subtext about how times have changed for gay men.
OutUK: What have been the particular challenges?
Ping: Not being able to tell that story explicitly by having dialogue and characters and fully-acted scenes! Everything is meant to be suggested by monologues, dance and song. Concerts in the main are purely emotional experiences. My hope with this hybrid is that it'll also stimulate the intellect by allowing you to connect the dots.

Creator Ping-Kern Ng.

OutUK: How have your own experiences as a gay man influenced the piece?
Ping: I've always been single. Half the time I love it, and half the time, I loathe it. The plethora of choices that the single gay man in London is faced with to do with sex and relationships is meant to liberate but ends up confusing. Reconciling myself to that confusion, moving ahead with very basic rules about how you treat your fellow-man
OutUK: ...and your musical background?
Ping: None. I was trained as an architect and have sung a few times before joining this choir, but thatís it. I not sure being a show-queen, namedropper and star-fucker (not literally, I hasten to add) counts as such, but knowing successful people in show business and being accepted into their company allowed me to dream and gave me the confidence to fulfil that dream.

OutUK: There are two original compositions ... tell me about them ...
Ping: Oneís about AIDS and the otherís about internet cruising, and there isnít much to add apart from that. Iím afraid their genesis is based a very prosaic reasons. I needed a couple of numbers to set up certain dramatic situations in the piece and there was nothing available so I thought the easier solution was to have them written.
OutUK:...and the rest of the programme?
Ping: ...consists of hits from the twentieth century and should prove tremendously entertaining. Most of the songs have been rearranged by my talented partner-in-crime, Simon Sharp, and hopefully, you wonít ever hear those songs again without associating them with this show.

Youíll Do For Now premieres at the Cadogan Hall in London's Sloane Square on Friday 22nd July at 7.30pm, with further performances on Saturday 23rd July (7.30pm) and Sunday 24th July (2.30pm). Tickets are now on sale from the Cadogan Hall box office on 020 7730 4500.

Congratulations to George of Clerkenwell who won a pair of tickets in this week's competition.


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