Pros: Some great performances and a good range of subjects
Cons: Some of the pieces are less focussed than others
The show began with Tapestry, a monologue by Fergus Church in which Evan Horton played an out-but-not-quite proud gay man on a date at the National Gallery. This was the highlight of the evening for me, largely because of the exceptional quality of Horton’s performance: he perfectly captured the physicality of his character and the contrast between his self-confidence and his anxiety about holding hands in public. This is an emotionally truthful play – my only criticism is that the tinnitus-like sound effects were occasionally unpleasant to the ear.
Next came In Need by Ben SantaMaria, a two-hander in which two women meet when one seeks refuge in the other’s house after being assaulted. It’s a good drama with some interesting twists, though it’s not very closely tied to the LGBT+ theme of the event.
Hannah Sowerby’s Two Extra Letters is a touching monologue, well performed by Alex T Hornby, about a trans father dealing with the challenges of transitioning. George Smart’s We Have To Tell Jacob is a satire about parents telling their teenage son they’ve tested his DNA and that he has the “gay gene” – an intriguing premise, but the idea isn’t really brought to fruition. I’d have liked another five minutes or so exploring this idea, and maybe five minutes less of the parents bickering at the start.
After the interval, Here and Now by Tanaka Mhishi sees a bi girl in a long distance relationship talking about her experiences. It doesn’t have much of a sense of direction, but does contain a scene-stealing cameo from Vanessa Burns as a student freaking out over a drunken encounter.
Joe West’s The Trip is a sweet tale of a widower and his son bonding on a camping trip, and Slow Dating by Adam Szudrich is a monologue about a mature “straight” woman who accidentally gets involved with another woman at a speed dating event. I found the humour of this piece far too clumsy and broad, but I feel obliged to mention that the rest of the audience were rolling in the aisles as I sat cross-armed like a purse-lipped prude. Oh well.
The final play was As If We Just Held Hands by Ian Townsend, which neatly brings us back to the subject of PDAs, this time at a Pride event at which two generations learn to express their feelings. It’s a tender and good-hearted piece to close with, and as the applause resounded over a curtain call for the whole company, it was encouraging to know there’s a sizeable audience for LGBT+ shows which attempt to shine a light on lesser known aspects of gender/sexual experience, rather than just showing cute boys taking off their clothes.
Producer: Full Disclosure Theatre
Writers: Fergus Church, Ben SantaMaria, Hannah Sowerby, George Smart, Tanaka Mhishi, Joe West, Adam Szudrich, Ian Townsend
Directors: Yojiro Ichikawa Hassall, Kennedy Bloomer, Sam Luffman, Tom Ward, Law Ballard, Dadiow Lin, Eleanor Felton, Chris Davis
Booking Until: The show was on for one night only.