Colin Spencer’s ‘Spitting Image’ to be staged at the King’s Head Theatre

Colin Spencer’s play Spitting Image, last performed 58 years ago, is to be staged at the King’s Head Theatre, London, from 5 August until the 27 August. The play tells to story of Gary and Tom, Backing into Light by Colin Spencerlong-term lovers who are having a baby, set in 1960’s London. The play was undoubtedly one of the UK’s first openly gay plays, and was first staged in 1968 to critical acclaim. Spitting Image now reimagines Colin Spencer’s uproarious satire of bigotry and biology for a whole new generation.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Spencer comments: ‘It is undoubtedly the first openly gay play but it was never published because homophobia was still rife,..it wasn’t even possible for amateur groups to do it over the years.’ He also goes on to say how surprised he is that Spitting Image is still as relevant today as it was then. The play, as well as many of his writings and musings, is a very personal story to Spencer, as he was denied access to his young son after his first marriage broke down and faced hostility in a 1960s court system which viewed homosexuals as degenerates.

Spencer is the author of Backing into Light: My Father’s Son, the first volume of his memoir, and is a stunning account of art school life in 1950s Brighton and London’s literary Bohemia of the Swinging Sixties. Best remembered now perhaps as a food writer, his column was published for fourteen years in the Guardian and his epic British Food: An Extraordinary Thousand Years of History reissued in 2011.