The P Word, Bush Theatre

by Zahid Fayyaz

This new play is a real treat. Written by and starring Waleed Akhtar, it is a duologue looking at the burgeoning love story between two Pakistani men. Played by Akhtar, Bilal is a young gay Muslim man who has responded to schoolyard bullying by hitting the gym and trawling Grindr for casual hook ups. There are hints of him of him wanting more, but he pushes it down every time
disappointment hits.

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Chloe Petts: Transience, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

As “the man she always wanted to be”, Chloe Petts is a devoted Crystal Palace football fan who embraces and is (mostly) embraced by lad culture. Her fellow season ticket holders who sit nearby, all very manly men, accept her as one of their own but she has issues when she goes to the loo. Over the course of this low-key hour Petts considers the effects of whether she is perceived as a woman or a man by those around her, and how this relates to the right-wing instigated culture war about trans people. It’s a pointed, provocative and very funny debut with heaps of promise.

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Breathless, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

Sophie has started a new life back home in Plymouth after years of living in London. She finally has her own place, and things are going well with the woman she’s dating. However, something looms over her life that she can’t bear to let go of – the vast collection of designer clothes that takes up every spare inch of her new flat. The urge to hold onto these items that she sees as an extension of herself is all-consuming, but she also really wants to invite her new girlfriend over.

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I Can’t Hear You, Theatre503

by Laura Kressly

After Ash and Lucy hook up after work drinks, things quickly get serious between the two young call centre workers. Initially they can’t get enough of each other, but something shifts between them after a homophobic attack on a night out. Their different responses ultimately drive a wedge between them, though underneath this conflict there is genuine and joyful queer love.

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Feature | Building (Hi)stories: Ladyfriends in Rehearsals

by Diana Miranda

Period dramas have become the ultimate weekend watch according to trending British media. And while Ladyfriends, written and directed by Clodagh Chapman, is pretty much suffragettes Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney’s story, this isn’t one of those dramas. Ladyfriends starts from the premise that Annie and Christabel are dating. Though historians dispute this based on ‘lack of scholastic rigour’, Chapman’s take doesn’t engage in these controversies and sees Chris and Annies’ dating as a fact. To her, a more exciting endeavour is to explore how people relate to history, and what lays behind re-visiting it and pursuing new readings.

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CONCHA, Brixton House

by Diana Miranda

As part of The Housemates Festival, City Lighthouse Theatre Company presents CONCHA, a one-person show (written and performed by Carly Fernandez) telling a semi-autobiographical story about intersectionality of queer and immigrant experiences in the UK. After the protagonist finds out they’ve contracted an STD, they navigate past and current relationships interacting with multiple characters through voice-overs.

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Bacon, Finborough Theatre

by Laura Kressly

Toxic masculinity is entrenched in contemporary life, from wider political and social systems to the minutiae of our daily interactions. It doesn’t just harm women; it also broadly shapes men and boys’ relationships with each other. One way this manifests is through displays of overt heterosexuality and other stereotypically masculine behaviour particularly in places like schools, where teenage boys constantly scuffle for power and try to fit in. Any new students need to quickly find their place in the hierarchy, preferably near the top. However, those who are already there sense their position is precarious so they bully anyone that could be perceived as a threat. Darren is one such lad who senses weakness in the quiet and bookish Mark who just joined their year 10 cohort, but Darren also senses something in himself that he believes must be kept in check.

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Somewhere to Belong, Lion & Unicorn Theatre

Photos: Sycorax Collective Presents SOMEWHERE TO BELONG

by Laura Kressly

As writer and performer Kim Scopes points out, bisexual representation on our stages and screens is limited. When a bisexual character appears at all, they are usually defined by their sexual activity and reduced to shallow, biphobic stereotypes. So a whole show about being attracted to more than one gender, made by a bisexual/queer person, is hugely exciting. Unfortunately, despite many great ideas and individual moments of excellent execution, this production feels like a disjointed work-in-progress with sections that only tenuously connect to each other.

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V&V, Vault Festival

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By Evangeline Cullingworth

Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West’s relationship is memorialized in their letters. Lifted from the heady Edwardian drawing rooms, phrases like, “throw over your man, I say, and come” or “I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia” are stretched out and poured over. We ache for their magnetic rapport and searing wit. We savour the sweetness of their intimacy, captured with their skill and made more beautiful as generations pass.

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