Written by Joel Samuels
Performed by @FineMessTheatre
Divas is a contemporary love story with a delicate and unexpected twist; we pursue Damian and Adam as they tell the story of their relationship, one tells it from beginning to end, the other from end to beginning, in a skilfully crafted tale of love, lies and heartache. The story is, in essence, a Rubiks Cube – at times more colours matching up than others, though (spoiler) you will never match all of the colours by the time you reach the culmination of the play. Which some may find frustrating, though I anticipate many, like myself, will find the ambiguity a delightful contraption and far from unsatisfying.
It was wholly refreshing to see ‘gay’ as a character note, rather than placed at the epicentre of the story, it successfully sells itself as a love story, without sensationalising same sex relationships. It felt as though the roles could be played by a same-sex couple, or a heterosexual couple, Samuels has trapped a relationship, not a mode of sexuality within his writing. It also sensitively explores class and the conflicts that may arise in a relationship of two people with different upbringings. Interestingly, Damian declaring ‘I read the Dictonary’ [in order to become more ‘intellectual’] certainly got a laugh from the audience, but scrape the surface from a seemingly humorous statement, and see the still existent rift that exists between the classes – education being a defining factor – the man from a working class background, desperate to familiarise himself to the similar artistic tastes and desires of his middle class boyfriend. That is perhaps one of the finest things about this play – it moves away from gay as a 2D plain and starts to explore the intersections.
It transpires that Adam and Damian first connect through their love of Divas – who, as if by magic, have materialised in the form of three sassy women, who underscore the story with a number of old Motown classics, sung soulfully and with spirit. They also dip in and out of the action to play the roles of friends and family, it’s a clear concept, that worked for me, and made good use of their presence on stage. They were never too intrusive of the action, but added a great layer to the story.
If you’re not sure what to see at Edinburgh, I highly recommend scheduling Divas in to your visit, Samuels writes with skill, insight and eloquence, to create a refreshing and unique story of love, loss and lies.
Book tickets here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/divas
(C) Amie Taylor (@spoonsparkle) 2015
Samuels plays Adam, and Damien is played by – they have clear chemistry and great shared dynamic.