The Daily Telegraph,
August 15, 1989
CHURCH CENSURES FESTIVAL PLAY OVER SEX SCENES
By Nigel Reynolds
A play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which shows naked men indulging in simulated sexual acts, crosses the bounds of decency, the Church of Scotland said last night. Hanging The President is the most sexually explicit play at the festival, and newspaper critics have repeated a warning note in the theatre's programme that foul language and some scenes may cause offence.
The Rev Andrew Maclean, Convenor of the Board of Social Responsibility of the Church of Scotland, said yesteday that the play play could face a private prosecution similar to that brought against The Romans in Britain, a play at the National Theatre which portrayed a male rape.
The board had received no complaints, but if it did it would send a representative to see the play, he said.
Hanging The President, by Michele Celeste, an Italian, opened at Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre last week and is due to run for three weeks.
It portrays two whitemen locked in a cell in a South African prison the night before the are due to be hanged.
Although critics and audiences have been shocked by some of the scenes, which include oral sex, buggery and masturbation, the play has been highly praised.
Mr Ian Brown, director of the theatre, said yesterday he had not received one complaint. “Most of the action is suggested. The audience at the Traverse expects to be hit betwween the eyes with something,” he said.
Although audiences have reported clearly seeing two simulated acts of buggery and one of oral sex, Mr Brown claims that they were no more than fleeting moments which audiences imagined they saw for longer because of the power of the play.