It’s now been one whole year since I’ve been regularly running Theatre Queers, a meet-up for queer people who work in theatre. With it being the new year, it was a good time to reflect on what I’ve learnt from these meet-ups.
The lights dangling over the audience in the intimate pub garden theatre look rather like anal beads. It’s a great choice by lighting designer Richard Lambert because they suit the joyously raunchy tone of this adult panto in Vauxhall, or rather, the charming mountain village Vaüxhallen. The town’s residents we meet over the two hour-long show are all out for some action and adventure – in every sense of the word.
Emily Jane Rooney longs for a world that doles out praise for being happy rather than being skinny, and where people can comfortably be their true selves. On the other hand, she wants the posh kid she works with to just fuck off. This clever use of contrast – switching from warm and vulnerable, to biting and sharp, and back again – keeps this one-woman show consistently engaging and fun despite a few underdeveloped moments that don’t fully cohere with the rest of the narrative.
The first pub theatre reopening after 5 months of COVID-19 closure feels like a celebration of survival. Given the governmental neglect of the theatre industry has faced since lockdown started, and the number of job losses this has caused across the industry, a tiny space in Clapham being able to stage its first socially-distanced, indoor production is huge. However, this unassuming new play by Michael Dunbar is more of a tangled character study that, though largely well-performed, consists of under-developed subplots and good intentions that aren’t effectively conveyed.
About four and a half months since seeing last seeing live, in-person performance, I’m in a park 20 minutes away from my flat, about to watch a one-person, outdoor show. It feels slightly surreal given the times we live in, but Bard in the Yard embraces that, and truly lifts a mirror up to pandemic life today.
Between Ben Yeoh and David Finnegan, there’s an impressive array of interests, knowledge and skills. Theatre, economics and climate change are among them. Their lecture-performance amalgamates these three topics into an engaging, informative and interactive presentation that gives a wide-angle view on what we can do to save the planet.
This is Tim Crouch’s retelling of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night through the eyes of the
blighted and picked-upon puritan, Malvolio. It’s the fourth time Crouch has written such an adaptation, which he hopes will “unlock Shakespeare for young audiences”.
A Faustian farce, Get Fit With Bruce Willis stars Chris Brannick as Mike, an ageing Jimmy Somerville impersonator, on a quest to find fame and fortune. His wife (Karen Kirkup) is looking outside of their marriage for lust and excitement. After figuring out he’s more Harry Hill than Jimmy Somerville in the looks department, he decides to re-brand himself somewhere in the middle – as Bruce Willis.
In 2002, Suzan-Lori Parks set herself the task of writing a play a day for 365 days. Parks
would eventually release the performing rights for $1 per play, sparking a continent-wide theatre festival that took Parks’ work, and theatre, to a host of new audiences and venues. Theatre Uncut follow a similar ethos.
When she was three years old, Alice fell into an orangutan enclosure. Now, as a 24-year-old woman, she recounts the story directly to us, though she makes a point to let us know she doesn’t tell people this story often. Years of being called ‘Monkey Girl’ in school has scarred her somewhat, despite the fact that orangutans are not monkeys – they are apes – something Alice reminds us of frequently throughout.