Take the story of a God-fearing father, a loving husband and son and blend it with a penchant for same sex encounters, prostitution and drug taking and you have the basis of a compelling narrative.
Utah-born Steven Fales thought so and has travelled the world telling how his life’s journey has been a deeply scarred and troubled one, where an infectious smile was pushed off his dial.
Put simply, if you are a practising gay Mormon you will be booted from the Church of Latter Day Saints.
Believe it or not, in the past the church taught that homosexuality was a “curable condition”.
Fales’ first gay “interaction” was when he was a young ambassador for the Mormons.
He was, not surprisingly, discouraged from pursuing that path and married the blonde haired, blue eyed daughter of a man who, himself, came out as gay after fathering four kids.
Nearly seven years on, with two children in tow, Fales’ marriage reached a crisis point, from which there would be no return. No amount of re-programming could help him now.
Cut from the church, where he was a sixth generation believer, his private hell was just beginning. He would take a walk – to be more accurate, plunge headlong – into the dark side.
Fales is effusive – joyous and funny, intense and dramatic.
His “show and tell” about his first experience as an escort is – and will remain – firmly imprinted on my mind.
Fales knows how to engage and entertain an audience. Complete with sound effects, he is a showman who can spin a yarn … and what more familiar yarn is there than one’s life story that keeps on giving.
Not only does he speak in his own voice, but he assumes the accents and tones of “characters” who are a part of his colourful journey.
And he can hold a note – with music playing a part in proceedings, including hearing him sing as a five and nine-year-old, with dreams of “making it” on Broadway.
The show could have benefitted from being pared back from its 90 minutes running time without interval, specifically in the “run home”.
But there is no doubt its theme of being true to oneself resonates strongly with Fales’ appreciative audience.
Confessions of a Mormon Boy – the first part of a trilogy he has written and performs – is playing at Chapel off Chapel until 9th February, 2020.