Tag Archives: Denholm Spurr

Happily Ever Poofter
★★★★

Above the Stag

Happily Ever Poofter

Happily Ever Poofter

Above the Stag

Reviewed – 2nd July 2019

★★★★

 

“this is a frivolous, fun fairy tale that draws attention to a serious issue in LGBTQ+ representation”

 

We had to wait until 2017 for Disney’s first ever gay character to make it on screen – namely Gaston’s sidekick LeFou in Bill Condon’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ live action remake. Cyrus Goodman, from Disney Channel’s ‘Andi Mack’, created a stir in February this year for being the first character on a Disney show to say “I’m gay” after coming out in Season Two. And we all can’t wait for Jack Whitehall’s mysterious “openly gay” character in next year’s ‘Jungle Cruise’. Despite all this, we all know Disney has a long way to go for LGBTQ+ representation, and it’s precisely this that comes under fire in Rich Watkins hilariously risqué cabaret show, now doing a run of Edinburgh previews.

This one-man-marathon sees Prince Henry leaving the land of fairy tales and princesses to enter the ‘real world’ and discover what it means to be gay. His fairy godfather shows him the way into the London gay “scene” where he meets an array of charming men (from Bashful to… erm… Sleepy) and finds comfort and community in (you guessed it) Above the Stag. His journey teaches him some crucial lessons. By finding community, he eventually learns how to be himself – even in the hostile, heteronormative landscape of fairy tale land.

Watkins, who is both writer and performer, has constructed a charming and whimsical show. A smattering of audience participation keeps the crowd engaged and in hysterics, and his witty reimagining of Disney songs is endlessly entertaining (highlights include a recontextualised version of “Someday My Prince Will Come” that you’ll never forget). Behind the shimmer curtain lies an important message however. Gay identity is often shaped by what we see – if we don’t see ourselves, how can we learn to be ourselves?

Denholm Spurr’s direction, coupled with Simone Murphy’s choreography, ensure the silliness remains throughout, and Watkins really works hard here, responding well to audience heckles and good-spirited joining in. Watkins could be bolder with his singing (there’s a fantastic voice in there desperate to get out) and could trust his audience with the jokes more, but overall this is a frivolous, fun fairy tale that draws attention to a serious issue in LGBTQ+ representation whilst nevertheless making sure everyone, Disney fan or no, is thoroughly entertained.

 

Reviewed by Joseph Prestwich

 

Above The Stag Theatre

Happily Ever Poofter

Above the Stag until 2nd July as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe preview tour

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Title Of Show | ★★★★ | February 2019
Goodbye Norma Jeane | ★★ | March 2019
Romance Romance | ★★★★ | March 2019
Queereteria TV | ★★ | April 2019
Fanny & Stella: The Shocking True Story  | ★★★★ | May 2019

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com

 

Chemsex Monologues – 3*

 

The Chemsex Monologues

King’s Head Theatre

Opening Night – 23 March 2017

⭐️⭐️⭐️

the quest for hedonism with scant regard for the predictable consequences

 

A man meets a mysterious stranger on a night out in Vauxhall; a sexy poster-boy gets taken to a chill-out by a porn star; a fag-hag named Cath is pushed to her limits at the party of the century; a sexual health worker struggles with the burden of community outreach.

 

Delivered as a series of interlinked monologues, Patrick Cash’s work takes a look at the ‘horny and high’ chemsex culture prevailing within some gay (and straight) cultures, in disturbing detail.

A near empty stage other than a neon light frame and a chair. In turn, a series of characters appear and tell us their story – each at first putting a positive spin on their situation; the highs, the hot sex, the immense euphoria …

Then the darkness. The reality. The play tackles the devastating effect chemsex can have. The dangers each of the users puts themselves in for their moment of ‘fun’. From unsafe sex to fatal overdoses, Chemsex Monologues highlights it all.

Other than Old Mother Meph (the odious host of the slam parties), the characters come across as fairly likeable everyday folk (other than all the men appear to have rock hard abs); the type of guys (and girl) you’d probably know – the type who lives for the weekend and to party!

But each character has their own flaws, drawn as with any addiction into a situation they rapidly lose control over. This is a tale of human of weakness at its extreme – the quest for hedonism with scant regard for the predictable consequences.

We’re given a very real insight into a darker world, but this has the potential to be much harder hitting. While the comedy character, safe sex worker Daniel is fun to watch (and nicely played by Matthew Hodson), is this the kind of piece that needs laughs? If Chemsex Monologues is meant as a cautionary tale,  it doesn’t quite strike the right balance and needs a clearer message about the dangers.

You’ll probably come away knowing a few more drugs related expressions than before you went in, and you’ll certainly be moved but just not quite enough. 

 

Photography by – Elliott Franks

 

Chemsex Monologues is at the King’s Head Theatre until 9th April. Tickets via:

 

www.KingsHeadTheatre.com