Edinburgh Fringe 2014
New Room Theatre provide verbatim testimony from a lesbian in Jamaica, a Trans woman in Scotland and a gay man in the Maldives. From their experiences we understand just how common these shared experiences of prejudice and trying to be true to yourself are and what real commitment we as a society should be giving to help all and help ourselves.
The performances start in the audience just after we are all settled. It is neither new nor shocking but it does take you a little by surprise. The actors then take themselves onto the stage. There we hear of the struggle for acceptance in Scotland from a lady who used to be a man, a Jamaican lesbian who found some acceptance within her family and a gay man from the Maldives who needed to move to Sri Lanka to find some inner and outer peace.
To find a performance from the LGBT community that does not bring some level of criticism or shock would be news. This is certainly a look at society from an LGBT perspective that picks up the themes we expect of prejudice but it does so by also tackling the issue of gay men and a Trans woman, it gives us perspective from a man who has fallen out of love with his community and of a lesbian who has found partial acceptance. There are therefore layers within this. Those layers have been skilfully woven and give us great insight to the whole community. The writing, being the real experiences of people, are always going to be authentic but are they theatrical? Here they are and here they remain long in the memory.
All three performers judge their performances well. It is however the Scots voice that really pushes this along. All sensuousness and flirtatiousness it responds to our prejudices and when she speaks of the appalling things that happened to her we are more than shocked.
It has a sharp direction to it though I did find the staging a little lacking. The flags were a nice touch but a tad simplistic or tokenistic. I could have done without them and just got on with it all.
Overall this was a play that ought to be compulsory in every school in the land. The message is clear, loud and proud but also measured, focused and real. New Room Theatre have another fantastic performance on an issue that is relevant and present right now. I can’t wait to see what comes next!