Diary of a Gay Disaster cast

Diary of a Gay Disaster


King’s Head Theatre

DIARY OF A GAY DISASTER at the King’s Head Theatre


Diary of a Gay Disaster cast

“The energy is infectious, with belting performances from all three cast members.”


When Mark Ravenhill and Hannah Price took over as artistic directors of the King’s Head Theatre in 2021, Ravenhill promised that the theatre would seek to represent ‘the full spectrum of experiences symbolised by the rainbow flag’. This Pride Month festival is doing just that, four guest artistic directors front ‘The Takeover’ season with Diary of a Gay Disaster being part of Tania Azevedo’s MT Pride Lab Season.

The show is a joyous and unapologetic exploration of the young queer female experience, bursting with riotous pop songs and tightly written one-liners. It’s specific, and plays to an audience who will relate, but that’s the beauty of it.

Ellis (Elly Fenton) is a new flatmate, joining intense and over the top Mia (Talya Soames) and chilled out Finlay (Liv O’Connor), who she’s met via Spare Room. In a desperate attempt to bond, Mia steals Ellis’ diary and insists they have a big night together reading it, to celebrate Ellis’ arrival. All three women are queer, and the diary documents the experiences of Ellis, growing up as a queer woman. They quickly find they’ve shared many of the same experiences, and each chapter is dissected, and sung about, in a string of poppy and peppy tunes.

The energy is infectious, with belting performances from all three cast members. Their passion shines in their comedy, and it stays high octane for most of the show. The more emotional, heartfelt moments are a little weaker, the characters are quite broadly sketched, meaning their own relationships are less interesting than the universal, relatable experiences that they sing about. But the commentary on current queer dynamics, on growing up queer and navigating finding a community is fresh and fantastic. One of the catchiest songs, ‘Is she queer or just a hipster’ will be an earworm for the foreseeable future. The conversations being raised are important, but are dealt with deftly and lightly.

Much of what works is thanks to the tightly written script, by Rachael Mailer, and the dynamic directing of Tara Noonan (as well as musical director Cerys McKenna). For the right audience, this play is liberating and relatable, perfectly articulating many people’s lived experience. It is also very funny. Strangely, if it were just the songs, and had less of a plot, it might even be stronger. There is a romantic plot shoehorned in, which doesn’t have time to develop, so comes a bit out of the blue. The characters are kept, on the whole, as tropes, to sum up different experiences. But it is fresh, and very funny. For several of the creative team, and cast, it is their theatre debut, and for a first foray, it is very strong.

The set is a bold, but simple, living room arrangement. Colourful bean bags, cushions and a sofa, which the three women slouch around on, pop up dramatically from behind. The lighting (Billy Highfield) is great fun, changing based on each song’s energy.

This show is bursting with catchy tunes, and tongue in cheek, very real commentary on the young queer female experience. It is a delight to watch, and a testament of the exciting new queer theatre that the King’s Head is showcasing.


Reviewed on 17th July 2023

by Auriol Reddaway


Previously reviewed at this venue:


The Black Cat | ★★★★★ | March 2023
The Manny | ★★★ | January 2023
Fame Whore | ★★★ | October 2022
The Drought | ★★★ | September 2022
Brawn | ★★ | August 2022
La Bohème | ★★★½ | May 2022
Freud’s Last Session | ★★★★ | January 2022
Beowulf: An Epic Panto | ★★★★ | November 2021
Tender Napalm | ★★★★★ | October 2021


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