“RELATIVE Merits explores the forced ‘outing’ of a gay football player, Adam, and the effect this has on media, fans and family, as seen through the eyes of Clay, the 19-year-old brother who idolises him … Despite the seriousness of its issues, it is also very, very funny – Barry Lowe’s script is an absolute gem, the message sweetened for maximum impact."
- Susan Mooney, Wentworth Courier, 6 April, 1994
“Relative Merits follows [little brother] Clay’s journey through ignorance and bigotry to understanding and respect. In a little over an hour the play successfully examines homophobia, persecution, AIDS, the Catholic Church, physical violence, family values and the media. One of the many strengths of Barry Lowe’s script is that it smoothly looks at these topics in a very personal way, interweaving them into the engrossing story. And much of the play is very, very funny.”
- Ian Phipps, Sunday Telegraph, 3 April 1994
“Barry Lowe’s Relative Merits … is concise, dramatic and highly emotional theatre which looks at prejudice and violence and why it is that real men don’t engage in either. Deeply moving, it is the story of star ruby league player Adam Grant who happens to be gay and HIV positive … Lowe has created an involving and special dialogue which variously excites and challenges. The message is about compassion and the fact that real courage lies in accepting people for what they are, even if that challenges our own sense of order.”
- Stewart Hawkins, Daily telegraph, 15 April, 1994
“The moments that consistently elicit the biggest reactions are those in which heterosexual stereotypes of homosexuality are sent up or broken down, especially the old myths that gays aren’t real men, that masculinity and homosexuality are contradictions in terms. The play goes to al sorts of narrative lengths to prove it isn’t so, including the bashing of the young heterosexual antagonist by some gays in a pub, after he has mouthed off about how much he hates poofters. Relative Merits is a play of attitudes rather than action.”
- Bob Evans, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 March, 1994
“The insight with which Lowe has written Clay’s initial reaction to the situation [his big brother’s homosexuality] are so acute, the play borders on being a theatrical documentary … With a plethora of heavy-handed and at times painfully untheatrical AIDS plays given exposure in the past seven or eight years, it was refreshing to see this work tackle the territory with a surprisingly sensitive, realistic and humorous approach.”
- Greg Punch, Theatre Australasia, July 1994
“relative Merits deals with the tragedy of AIDS in a humane and enlightened manner, and Clay’s journey towards acceptance is an apt metaphor for society’s need to dispense with prejudice based on sexual preferences, whatever shape or form they take."
- Karen-Janes Eyre, Drum Media, 25 May, 1995
“This is a passionately didactic piece about understanding and accepting homosexuality and the horrors of AIDS. It’s a tightly written, highly charged two-hander.”
- Brian Hoad, The Bulletin, 1 June, 1993 (page 90)