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Brighton Fringe 2024

2 Queers in Tears

Bek MacGeekie and Edward Garcia

Genre: Drama, Fringe Theatre, LGBTQ+ Theatre, New Writing

Venue: The Lantern Theatre 77 St James's Street, Brighton BN2 1PA


Low Down

In the course of writing this review I learned that I’m possibly a ‘Social Media Content Creator’  

Wow!  Who knew?   I thought I just wrote reviews …

Not an ‘Influencer’, though – apparently that’s something very, very different.


It seems that ‘Content Creators’ provide a constant stream of chat, fashion, lifestyle tips and gossip, straight into the smartphones of their ‘followers’.   Elliot has “five hundred K followers on Instagram”, and keeping them up to date with his activities is his core business.

Right up to date.   When we were introduced to Elliot he was on his first day of a Drama course at a University somewhere in London.  He’d just met Billie, a fellow fresher on the course, and halfway through their conversation Elliot pulled out his phone to take a selfie video clip, detailing his latest activity.   Lots of enthusiastic comments about how wonderful it all was, and a pouty close-up “Mwaaah” to close.   Then he checked, and realised that Billie was visible in the background, so he deleted the post.  “Don’t worry – I can re-record it later.”

Everything needs to be PERFECT in Elliot’s world. 

Elliot’s thirty-six – “actually thirty-four but don’t tell!” – and his area of interest is “Queer status, and life in London.”   He was dressed perfectly for that role (and for the selfies) in an elegantly cut yellow shirt, over narrow trousers in a pale biscuit check.  He was originally from the Philippines, he told Billie, and he’d lived in London for about seventeen years.

She, by contrast, was dressed in a jacket so acid green it almost burned our retinas out, over blue Levis.   She’s thirty-one, and her name is actually Roberta, but “I’m only called that if I’m in BIG trouble …”    She’s a Northerner, from a small town near Newcastle, and she’s brought her Geordie accent with her.  Once the Queer topic reared its head, Billie told Elliot that, although she’d come out, she has sex with both men and women.  He defined that as ‘Pansexual’, and Billie’s response was that “There’s a word for everything down here in London” …

Bek MacGeekie as Billie, as well as Edward Garcia as Elliot, are both graduates of the ACT Diploma in Acting, and trained at The Lantern.  So they were very much at home on the building’s stage, and Janette Eddisford’s set design managed to give it the feel of both a domestic and a teaching environment.   Minimal, but very effective – just a settee in the back corner, with a small trolley and a coat stand next to it; and an easel at stage right, holding an A1 pad of white paper.   The easel not only signified ‘teaching’, but as the actors turned the sheets the pad displayed the month and year of the current scene, drawn on in felt tip.

As the play opened, the top sheet read    SEP  2021     Subsequent scenes took us all the way through to their graduation in   JUN 2023

She’s great fun, and she’s having lots of sex – he’s cool, and he’s got a handsome boyfriend called Peter.   They quickly hit it off as mates, and they’re having a wonderful time.


But they both have therapists …   There’s a worm somewhere in almost every apple.  


We learn that Billie’s upbringing was very painful – her mother, it seems, doted on her elder sister and had no time for Billie.  Her father left her mother before she was even born – “Am I in communication?  No, he’s living somewhere in Rotherham with a new wife, two kids and three pigeons.  Not very good at communicating: pigeons …”   Eventually, Billie’s mother threw her out, and since then she’s lived with her Gran.  Then later on, her Gran becomes seriously ill. Billie’s great fun, as I mentioned earlier – but her therapist tells her that she uses humour as a defence mechanism.  

Similarly – the ultra-cool Elliot had to leave the family home in Manila once his parents realised that he was gay.  Not acceptable in that culture.  So he lives in London now, and his only communication with them is by phone.  “Do they ask how you’re doing?” asks Billie, and Elliot tells her “No.  All they ask is – have you sent the money this month?”

The piece is about families, but it’s about social media, too.  The pair act out a sex scene from a play they’re doing as part of their course.  Billie videos it, and it goes viral when, without thinking, she posts it online.  Elliot’s parents are horrified – as is his boyfriend, who ends their relationship..   Eventually the friends share a flat together – giving each other the emotional support that their natural families weren’t able to provide.

So the play is about friendship, and loss, and how two people can learn to be a couple without it being sexual.    It’s a rom-com, I suppose, and like all rom-coms it isn’t particularly realistic.  But who cares?   Bek MacGeekie and Edward Garcia are very accomplished actors.  They have written this piece themselves, and they’ve created characters that I both believed in and cared about.   Real individuals, with backstories and depth.   I still care about them, as it happens – I find myself wondering how their lives will turn out.  

Isn’t that a measure of good theatre?