by Laura Kressly
A man who may or may not be King Edward II finds himself on a stage, with an audience watching and waiting to see what happens next. He has no idea where he is or how he got there, but he’s in good company. Gertrude Stein, Quentin Crisp and Harvey Milk are locked in with him, and they’re none the wiser as well. They all want to get out, but something sinister wants to get in and they can’t to escape until they determine why they’re there in the first place.
Freddie and Ted are a couple in 1960’s Brighton. At the start of their relationship, homosexuality is illegal so the two pretend that young musician Ted is older Freddie’s lodger. As time passes, equality is recognised and Ted grows up. The progressive young man is idealistic and forward-thinking, whilst his partner is stuck in the past. As tension builds between them, rifts form that might be too deep to be repaired.
Director Annamiek van Elst states that, “now more than ever, there is a need to represent narratives around Islam in a positive light”. Too right. Our overly white and insular theatre is trying to diversify, but it still has a long way to go and systemic white, middle class administrations’ unconscious bias to overcome.