Now, I despise pigeonholing*, thus I also despise the term ‘a lesbian play’. (I’m not even sure I like the title I invented for this blog.) Theatre’s theatre, and so much more than the sexuality of the characters in it. However, following my loud complaints of late at the lack of lesbian characters on London’s stages (which are a similar volume to my ‘where are all the good roles for women over 50?’ rants), I want to take a moment out to have a celebratory dance on my desk, with a glass of Prosecco (or Aldi Red Wine, as is the reality of my situation this evening), as it seems we are mid-way through phase of lesbian characters storming London’s stages, both mainstream and fringe.
However you felt regarding the Lyric Hammersmith’s Tipping the Velvet, it certainly got the theatre world talking about the representation of gay women in theatre. I particularly enjoyed this discussion in Exuent Magazine, as well as the coverage (48 mins in) on Out in South London. I personally wasn’t a fan of the male narrator, I would have rather had an older Nan King, perhaps in her 90s narrating – thus also creating a stellar role for a woman over 50. I also wasn’t a fan of the timid approach to lesbian sex on stage, I love a circus act as much as the next person, but I wish they’d have been a bit braver and just gone for it! I know they were trying to mainstream-it-up a bit, I might be very mistaken, but I think 2015s ‘mainstream audiences’ can handle queer, perhaps we could give them more credit. Besides, it maybe also tapped a different audience anyway – on the evening I went I have never seen SO many lesbian couples in one place, it was the highlight of my life riding home in a tube carriage full of only gay women, I felt like I’d fallen in to an episode of the L-Word. If you haven’t seen it yet, it closes on Saturday (24th Oct) so you’ll need to be quick to catch it! Book tickets here.
Crush the Musical, written by Maureen Chadwick (Waterloo Road, Footballer’s Wives and Bad Girls) performed at The Belgrade, Coventry, Theatre Royal, Brighton and the Richmond Theatre, London earlier this month. It has now closed, but if a new (queer) take on the Mallory Towers-esque lifestyle tickles your fancy, you can watch a trailer here. And with a bit of luck it will be back soon!
Coming up at Theatre 503 (and I am particularly excited about this one) is Rotterdam. An exploration of gender and sexuality in a new play by Jon Brittain: It’s New Year in Rotterdam, and Alice has finally plucked up the courage to email her parents and tell them she’s gay. But before she can hit send, her girlfriend reveals that he has always identified as a man and now wants to start living as one. Book online here. We’ll be there on November the 2nd.
And finally, the old classic, The Killing of Sister George, comes to the London Theatre workshop for three weeks from the end of October. The film was screened earlier this year as part of The Vito project at the Cinema Museum (London). If you haven’t seen or heard of it, it’s a fantastic fragment of LGBT film and theatre history, do try to catch it! We’ll be reviewing it on the 4th November, so stay posted for our thoughts.
And that’s the low-down for now. I’ll sign off, hopeful that I can write a stack more blogs like this over the coming months. Have a great evening.
Director – The LGBTQ Arts Review
*I despise pigeonholing whilst paradoxically think it can also be useful…
Image: Crush The Musical