The one thing a vast amount of human beings share is that we all have a “first time”. For many of us, it’s a life-changing experience as we finally come of age and explore another side to ourselves. However, how many of us relive this event every day? Well, 15 years on and Nathaniel Hall just can’t seem to let his go.
Hall has put his writing and theatre-making skills to good use and has produced this very powerful and heartfelt production. Reliving the moment he discovered that his life would dramatically change forever.
The story in First Time is told through the first-person narrative and comes directly from the heart in this moving, passionate and extremely emotional rollercoaster tale. The autobiographical and frank story tells his audience in warts and all story about when he contracted HIV, his diagnosis and the long hard journey he has taken to be in the place he is today.
Although his life-changing catastrophic diagnosis throws him into the unknown world of HIV and NHS waiting rooms. What I really admire is Hall’s attitude towards his diagnosis although he obviously hit the depths of depression with his description of the drugs and alcohol abuse, you never hear any self-pity or “why me” utter from his lips. Although nobody could blame him if he had.
The production is billed about how he is “staying positive in a negative world” and although it’s a tear-jerker in some places and I heard sniffles around me as audience members hold back the tears. There are so many positive messages to take away from his performance too.
Nathaniel is a genuinely talented actor, writer and likeable guy. Life can deal with some of the nicest people the cruellest of hands. Yet with a lot of coloured pills, a touch of powder and a large dose of comedy the ignorance surrounding the one-time death sentence disease he invites us to learn about the advances in HIV treatments and the care given by NHS staff to help patients through their life changing event and treatment. It’s definitely time that everyone becomes properly educated in the facts. The world needs more incredible ambassadors like Hall.