The Measure of a Man is a multi-layered monologue-driven Fringe offering by Australian actor/writer Gavin Roach. In this incredibly candid show, Roach regales us with funny, awkward and at times mortifying tales of his history of dating as a gay man. He teaches us the art of 'pulling a Meryl’, measuring one’s penis ‘on the flop’, and shares pearls of wisdom, like when it comes to measuring penises, most guys prefer the imperial system.
Straight off the bat, it's Roach's candor that grips that audience's attention. Sitting in neon-pink jocks, a little denim vest and knee-high socks that read GAY, with the flick of a wrist he casually drawls, “It's been years since I've had a decent erection.”
Roach makes clever use of lighting and music to assist in transitions between stories. Sometimes it's strobe lights and a booming bass that transports us to a sweaty nightclub dance-floor, next it's a dull red light illuminating a hazy bedroom scene.
This show is skilfully composed, with Roach demonstrating a practised hand in both narrative story-telling and poetry. Flashback to the bedroom sequence with the red light where his lover left him, “with a flaccid mound of skin and shame”. Next, to the glorious ride of a Viagra-aided erection, where he could feel his blood cells coursing through his veins “like drag-queens marching up a street.”
Through his own example, Roach illuminates important societal and cultural issues that fall by the wayside. Such as the way our healthcare system continually fails gay men, toxic masculinity within the queer community, and the difficulty of getting mental health assistance for LGBTQI+ identifying people.
The Measure of a Man is a big old love poem. An ode to the gay man, the sad man, the downtrodden man, where envy, shame, lust and longing become our constant companions.