A Treading the Boards Novella
Andy Marshall moves to London looking for a fresh start after breaking up with his long-term boyfriend. To stave off boredom from his day job as an accountant and to meet new people, Andy joins a local amateur dramatics society called the Sarky Players based in Greenwich, South London. Despite his best efforts to avoid it, Andy is cast as one of the leads in a truly dreadful play called Whoops, Vicar, There Goes My Trousers, written by a local playwright.
The play might be bad, but the Sarky Players are a friendly bunch. Andy quickly makes new friends and finds himself attracted to Phil Cormack, a local artist helping with the props. But life doesn’t run to a script, so Andy and Phil will have to work hard to improvise their own happy ending.
Andy has taken a work transfer to London from Bristol after a break up with a cheating boyfriend. While he’s not sure about dating, with some work socializing, he gets drawn into joining an amateur dramatics group, the Sarky Players, where he meets first Ryan, then Phil, who make him think maybe he could start dating again.
The story is told from Andy’s point of view.
This was a fun read, but it also has some serious and thoughtful moments as well. Andy has moved to London, which makes his Mum and sister happy since he is now closer to him, which he does not mind either, sadly, the reason behind it was not so great – a cheating ex boyfriend. Not a great deal of time is spent on the ex as the story starts after Andy has made his decision to move on and his quiet start in London ends up not being quite so low key after all
The dramatics group seems like a bit of fun, a way to socialize that fits into his work life (mostly). Too bad the play, by his interpretation, is awful! At the auditions, he meets Ryan, one of the actors, who is quite the flirt! He also meets Phil, who works backstage, there seems to be some animosity between Ryan and Phil, but Andy finds himself drawn to both of them, although for different reasons. Add to that his sister is also trying to set him up, his elderly neighbor is always asking if he would not mind helping her out and work projects that keep him late sometimes and he seems to be on the run quite a bit!
I liked Andy, he’s a regular guy – Ryan is described as being quite the looker, Phil is an artist but unlike a good number of m/m romance, Andy is your everyday guy. He loves food, especially cakes, and has to work out to himself a bit more fit, and I really liked that about the character. You could imagine yourself being friends with him, that he’d be a great friend and coworker. As such, you want him to find someone who realizes how wonderful he is.
The supporting characters really add to this, although I would have loved to see more with his neighbor Ussie, at the time of the play opening! His Mum, his sister Gemma, niece Lea, workmate Naomi and her husband Mark, Maddie, another cast member who is also friends with Phil and continues to encourage both men. The only issue I had with the book, is that after the build up of the play and the building of the relationship of the two main characters for the first three quarters of the book, the last quarter, which included the opening of the play and all the supporting characters in one place, felt a bit rushed compared to the rest – but perhaps I just wanted to read more about them developing in the new phase of their relationship because I liked them so much!
I would recommend this book to M/M romance fiction fans, particularly if they have an interest in stories based in the UK. It has humor, romance, a bit of angst and some great character personalities to keep the story going. This is the first book I’ve read from this author, but I will be looking for more.