Studio – The Vaults
Reviewed – 25th February 2020
“It’s about acceptance, being brave and celebrating all our loves and differences”
When Alex was seven their mum told them about their auntie having a scan to see what sex the baby was. Alex asked if they could have a scan too, to see what sex they were. This tender gender play follows Alex through tough times at school, friendship with their wonderfully sweary mum, love, loss and confusion. Alex , played by Em Thane is brilliant as a mixed up teen, trying to hold their own in a school that doesn’t protect them, and a young person with a life that is made hard by cruelty and wilful misunderstandings. Dean, played by Jahvel Hall calls Alex his girlfriend. He doesn’t know how to behave with them and keeps getting it wrong. His confusion is painful, because he cares. The teacher can’t/won’t use Alex’s pronouns, constantly misgenderng them and blind to the hurt it causes. But Mum Lila is a star, protecting her child with fierce love. Jordan Whyte is really relatable as Lila, not a tiger mother but a lioness, and the scene where she takes on the teacher, played by Sukey Willis, who also plays Erin, is a powerful portrayal of a mother refusing to take any shit as she schools the teacher in how to behave. It made me want to cheer. Erin is a breath of fresh air, and I loved their kooky take on life.
The action is interspersed with Alex taking a microphone and talking about their life. It’s a bit stand up and a bit storytelling, and it really works. Anna Wheatley’s writing sings, never teachy, always feeling real. Ica Niemz’ simple, versatile set is clever and effective and sound and lighting by Brain Rays and Hector Murray paint the atmosphere and delineate the scenes well. At times it was hard to hear the dialogue when the sound was louder and a train passed overhead, but it’s a minor point.
Beige is about finding out who you are, being who you are. It’s about acceptance, being brave and celebrating all our loves and differences. Anyone offended by some very hearty swearing will probably not like it, which is a shame because it’s really rather good.
Reviewed by Katre
Photography by ZiebellPhotography