Tag Archives: LGBT

Theatre Review: Tom & Jerry: A Love Story (Drayton Arms Theatre, London)

A cat and mouse game! Denholm Spurr (left) as Tom, and Pearce Sampson (right) as Jerry.

A cat and mouse game! Denholm Spurr (left) as Tom, and Pearce Sampson (right) as Jerry.

Rating: ****

In A Nutshell

Tender and truthful with some great writing, lifting what is otherwise something too familiar.

Overview

Tom meets Jed in a club. Tom is straight laced and prim, whilst Jed is hyperactive, self-absorbed, and queeny. However, after a bump and a spill, they end up in an unlikely relationship. But can domestic bliss endure their clash of personalities?

Writing

This new piece by Nick Myles is not exactly original, in the sense that there are already countless plays looking at how opposites attract as well as repel. However, even if the narrative doesn’t break any new ground, you forget the familiarities of such a tale due to some marvellous writing.

For starters, Myles explores the issues with an absorbing level of intelligence and truth. His characters, their thoughts and their feelings, clearly come from a very real and heartfelt place, giving the play a tangible humanity. Particularly, he proves that you can include stereotypical characters without them coming across at two-dimensional. Even Jed, with all the mincing irritation that his shallow persona embodies, is still a vulnerable, responsive, and feeling character. You may be able to see where the story is going, but nether the less you’re still intrigue by the nuance and personality that Myles writes with.

Furthermore, there are some wonderful little moments where Myles employs his writing technically. At one point, he creates a wonderful moment toying with of distance and closeness. At the apex of the relationship, he has the characters recount the day it all fell apart, taking turn individuals talking directly to the audience, which wonderfully isolates themselves from each other through the text, despite director Niall Phillips creating a physical closeness they have on the stage: a wonderful visual and atmospheric contrast that lifts the already emotional opening up of the characters. There’s also moments when he toys with inner-dialogue to peek into the psyches of the characters as they interact, ensuring the audience don’t take away everything at face value.

The only other criticism aside from originality, is that Myles takes a bit too long to explore the issues sometimes, causing some moments to drag, especially where there’s an absence of the little dramatic tricks he employs elsewhere. It’s clear that Myles wants to explore the issues and feelings he’s meticulously dissecting as fully as possible. But the tenderness that comes across from the writing, even in these lulls the slower pacing, is by no means a negative trade off for a text that so easily and earnestly resonates with anyone who’s ever been in a failed relationship.

Direction & Production

Phillips works wonders with very little by means of space and set. Opting to not use the generous (if not awkward) space of the Drayton Arms Theatre doesn’t mean that it looses anything. There’s certainly enough space for the cast to interact with each other and tell the story, and enough simple props to create the various scenes and places.

As well as little embellishments that augment Myles’ writing (such as the aforementioned physically placing the characters close together when they’re at their most distant), Phillips handles scene changes in a wonderful way too: as the characters set up the props, they move and interact to tells succinctly and charmingly the emotions and story of the time inbetween. The problem is that some of them go on just a bit too long, overstaying the point and the picture that they’re trying to make/paint. Otherwise, it adds a wonderful sense of continuity to Mile’s play, whilst visually colouring the characters beyond what the text already says about them.

There is also a very natural approach to the text too. Phillips isn’t worried about actors talking over each other or forcedly interrupting a sentence during an argument or excited discussion due to being caught up in the heat of the moment. It gives the whole play an even more realistic charm that helps us to identify with the characters more. The cast handle this approach incredibly well too, but always without drowning each other out or drawing undue dominance. It creates a believable insight into what could be a very real relationship, and were it for the fact you know this is a play, you’d swear that actors Pearce Sampson and Denhlom Spurr were a real life ill-fated couple.

Cast

Both Sampson and Spurr handle their characters effortlessly organically. Sampson especially manages to bring a human depth to a character who is otherwise monstrously superficial in nature. Spurr is also great at exploiting the cracks in his character’s uptight veneer to reveal some touching repressed emotions. But it’s the chemistry between them that is most interesting to watch. Even at their most intimate, there’s always a sense of distance, and likewise, when there’s distance between them, there’s still a simmer of passion and longing that draws them together: a picture-perfect capture of Tom and Jed’s dynamic.

Verdict

A warm and affecting look at when love doesn’t go the way it should when personalities clash, with writing that carries and intrigues in a narrative that you that doesn’t necessarily offer anything too new.

[youtube http://youtu.be/y3yaHBZrmZs]

Tom & Jerry: A Love Story was performed at the Drayton Arms Theatre, SW5 0LJ.

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Review: Next Fall (Southwark Playhouse, London)

Martin Delaney (left) and Charlie Condou (right). Photograph: Robert Workman.

Martin Delaney (left) and Charlie Condou (right). Photograph: Robert Workman.

Rating: ****

In A Nutshell

A beautifully sardonic and heart-shattering piece, written from a place of love, humanity, and anguish.

Overview

Adam and Luke have been together for five years. Adam is in his 40s and an aetheists, whilst Luke, much younger, is a Christian and still in the closet to his parents. Their life has always been one of compromise where they’ve failed to reach an understanding, but tenderness in the close affinity that they can. But when an accident happens to Luke, Adam Is forced to face and rely upon a family who are less than accepting of homosexuality, and have no idea who he is and what he means to Luke.

Writing

Geoffrey Nauffts’ play was nominated for “Best Play” at the Tony Awards 2010, and now see’s it transfer to London four years later. One of the reasons for its success is it’s incredibly satisfying dry wit which permeates the entire piece. However, for those who are well versed in gay plays and other LGBT arts productions, especially issues surrounding religion vs. sexuality, there’s nothing particularly ground-breaking in the themes and arguments that many will have heard before. So whilst the humour is certainly entertaining and extremely sharp, the first act just feels a little too familiar.

However, it’s in Act II that the play really comes into it’s own. Whilst Nauffts might not be offering much with regards to new point and counterpoint to the subject, it’s how he uses the characters to frame the issues discussed that is the real triumph of the play. For starters, Nauffts’ characters are all substantially flawed. You can never quite get behind Adam as a protagonist as, although long suffering, he’s more unlikeable than likeable. Likewise, Butch, the Bible-thumping alpha heterosexual patriarch, is not all he seems, causing us to think and rethink what prejudices we ourselves are judging him by.

What this results in is, rather than a greying of the arguments’ clarities, Nauffts’ blurs the emotional lines on the subject. There is no distinct binary of how we should be feeling and thinking here that would otherwise serve as an simple catharsis or a shallow rally-call for an established campaign. But instead we get a difficult and challenging walkthrough of the issues where there aren’t any easy hero or villain figures. Because of this, the show, as well as being marvellously humorous, is also achingly moving. The characters feel very real and, despite their faults, you still deeply care for them. But also, the show is frustratingly realistic. You just want the characters to scream and kick-off, leaving Adam and Luke to emerge victors and live their happily-ever-after. Nauffts, however, settles for a reality. Though painful and despondent as it is, it ultimately leaves you with as much poignancy and anger as it does sore sides and wet cheeks.

Mitchell Mullen (left) and Nancy Crane (right). Photograph: Courtesy of Robert Workman.

Mitchell Mullen (left) and Nancy Crane (right). Photograph: Courtesy of Robert Workman.

Direction & Production

The production sits very cosily in the smaller theatre space at the Southwark Playhouse but loses nothing despite the fact that it could probably have just as easily filled the main space. David Woodhead’s set wonderfully feels homely enough to be a minimalistic and sleek New York apartment, but just clinical enough to double as an unforgiving and soulless hospital waiting area: a wonderfully agile duality.

The most interesting aspect of the production, however, is how Director Luke Sheppard and lighting designer Howard Hudson work together to bring out some nice little touches. When it comes to scene changes, whilst the other cast start to move and replace props, there’s a spot that lingers on the central character of the scene, just as they do. This  creates an omnipresent feeling of lingering and detachment from what’s going on, and really augments the strife that the characters go through both past and present within the story. This marks Sheppard out as a director who clearly empathises with the piece, endeavouring to give the issues and the feelings involved prominence and justice.

Cast

Charlie Condou, most famous for his role in Coronation Street, is the main draw here, especially as an openly gay actor and parent. But whilst he handles himself well, it’s the rest of the cast that really deserve the praise. Condou’s on-stage counterpart, Luke, played by Martin Delaney, is adorably charismatic and carefree, playing up to his character’s youthful naivety with a wonderful sense of grace. Indeed, he’s the perfect antidote to Condou’s fretful and self-absorbed Adam, and the pair’s chemistry is the most electric when their relationships is most strained. However, they’re still still able to conjure a sweet cuteness for their happier and more intimate times together that is comfortably numbing, making all the more for a heart-wrenching tragedy.

Mitchell Mullen as Butch also deserves a mention as he superbly growls and spits as Luke’s close-minded and zealot father, but letting the audience peep through chinks into something that is more scared and vulnerable rather than completely proud and despotic. Likewise, Nancy Crane’s Southern charm as Butch’s wife, Arlene, slowly cracks in a majestic and tender fashion, as a warm and repentant woman trying hard to atone and keep it together for all her past faults.

Verdict

Whilst the writing is of a familiar set of ideas and arguments, Nauffts’ characters and emotional framing makes for a crushing and human play. With wonderful directional flourishes, and a stunning cast, you’ll be hard pressed to fight back both laughter and tears.

[youtube http://youtu.be/9M-ANbinLd4]

Next Fall plays at the Southwark Playhouse, London, SE1 6BD, until 25 October 2014. Tickets are £18 (concessions available). To book, visit http://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk.


I now pronounce you Mr & Mr Miqo’te? Final Fantasy XIV “consider” in-game same-sex marriages.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Logo: Courtesy of Square Enix.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Logo: Courtesy of Square Enix.

Having finally gotten same-sex marriage onto the statute books in the UK, putting us in-line with countries like Uruguay, seeing the debate roll on in other countries isn’t surprising. But in a video game?

The re-launch of the much beleaguered Final Fantasy (FF) XIV, the second massively multiplayer online (MMO) instalment of the behemoth gaming franchise, is experiencing a bit of a Waterga III in a teacup. Will LGBT players be able to have same-sex marriage ceremonies for their in-game avatars?

FFXI, Square Enix’s first MMO, saw marriage introduced as an option for players. Gamers would get a bundle of nice things, and there’d be a big hoo-ha for all your friends to attend. But it was, and still is, only allowed for characters of the opposite sex. With coming out later this month, is it time for the developers to change their tune?

Developers of FFXIV have said this about the possibility of introducing same-sex marriage to the game:

“…this is an extremely controversial topic that has been under discussion in the MMO world for the past few years. First we would like to start out with opposite-sex marriage, and then consider the feedback from our players in order to make a careful decision.” 

It’s a little frustrating that Square Enix are dragging their feet on the issue, but it’s hardly surprising. After all, Japan, where the company is based, isn’t a culture that’s renowned for forthrightly embracing the LGBT community. But to me, it’s a no-brainer. Same-sex marriage is slowly being adopted by legal systems around the world. America, the UK, and France, three of the five countries that the game’s languages support, already have it established. Futhermore, LGBT characters have becoming more prominent in video games of late, such as characters in Dragon Age and Mass Effect being openly gay, which has caused a bit of a racaus amongst less open minded gamers, so it won’t like they’ll be quite trailblazing LGBT representation in video games.

Also, just because the avatars are of opposite sex, does not mean the players are. There are no caveats or restrictions to what gender a player is allowed to choose as their avatar. Therefore, a same-sex couple in-game, could very likely be a heterosexual pair in real life. During my many years playing FFXI, I constantly saw straight male players play as a female character, more often than not as Mithra – the sexy, busty cat-women of the game. Female players, too, would switch genders when it came to their avatars more often than not.

FF also has a massive LGBT following across all of its franchise instalments, especially in the Western markets. Indeed, in FFXIV, there will be dedicated gamer-created groups (Free Companies and Linkshells) being set up on almost every server specifically for LGBT players to mingle and share the gaming experience. One example, which I plan on joining once the game it launched, is Phoenix Down. And if we’re really honest, Japanese Role Playing Games (JRPGs) have always been incredibly camp, and the FF series is possibly the campest of them all. You only have to look at the males of the Miqo’te race in FFXIV to come to the conclusion that, despite all the sword swinging and shuriken throwing antics, it’s not the butchest game on the market.

So butch! Original concept artwork for a male Miqo'te. Courtesy of Square Enix.

So butch! Original concept artwork for a male Miqo’te. Courtesy of Square Enix.

But the most important point is whether players actually care. Being in a contained virtual environment, it’s hardly going to upset the “natural order” of things and piss off some omnipotent; such as in the arguments against same-sex marriage in the real world. Plus, apart from some fancy items, same-sex marriage will have just the same impact on gameplay as opposite-sex marriage: absolutely bugger all.

However, unfortunately players do bring their real life bigotry into the game. I, and many others, have experience homophobia in FFXI. But Square Enix already do a good job of tackling this as part of their bullying policing. Discrimination on the grounds of sexuality isn’t explicitly mentioned in their User Agreement, but then again neither is race, religion, or gender; it all comes under the vague term of “Offensive Language”. The game’s policing team, employed Games Masters, do a fantastic job in very broadly applying this clause to cover sexuality and everything else. So Square Enix are already behind the LGBT community in ensuring their virtual spaces are safe and welcoming. So why not afford them virtual equal marriage rights?

I’m stopping short of congratulating Square Enix on “considering” same-sex marriage, but at least it’s on the cards. Overall, the fact that it’s gained enough momentum to become an issue is a positive step forward to equality inside video games, even if we’re a long way off having it outside of them. And maybe the former might spur on the latter.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will be released on 27 August 2013. For more information about the game, visit http://eu.finalfantasyxiv.com.


The Iris Prize Festival is getting red(head) hot!

Fire in the hole! Shot from "Gingers". Photograph: Courtesy of Iris Prize Festival 2013.

Fire in the hole! Shot from “Gingers”. Photograph: Courtesy of Iris Prize Festival 2013.

Those who know me better will know that I have spent the last two Octobers down in Cardiff covering the Iris Prize Festival for So So Gay (SSG), with last year the publication being media partners.

Despite being no longer with SSG, it doesn’t mean I’ve taken my eye off the ball of this brilliant festival, or neither do I intend to take a year off from visiting the Welsh capital for this absolute gem of a cultural event.

For those who don’t know what the Iris Prize is, it’s a yearly competition specifically for LGBT short films from around the world. The winning short, selected by a jury of industry folk, journalists, politicians, and celebrities, will win £25,000 to put towards making their next short in Wales, with help of The Festivals Company who produce the festival. In past years Lisa Power, Policy Director of the Terrence Higgins Trust, and lesbian author Sara Watters, have both served on the jury.

The festival, which takes place over five days in October, also includes a programme of feature films, workshops, and parties. But what’s so great about it is the incredibly informal and intimate nature of it. Festival goers can get to know the creatives and actors involved in the films, as well as festival volunteers, organisers, and fellow patrons, in an environment where everyone is as passionate about LGBT short film as the next person.

The standard of the competing films, partially put forward by a network of collaborating LGBT film festivals from around the world, and also by filmmakers who have personally submitted into the competition, is always incredibly high. Despite there being around 30 shorts each year vying for the prize, there are few that fall below a standard of uncompromising brilliance.

So imagine my delight when the full programme was announced today. One of the things I’m personally looking forward to is Gingers, a steamy short, that looks at the skin, the hair, and the lives of red-headed guys, leaving no stone unturned, or anything unexposed! This short from porn director Antonio da Silva, it’s certainly going to heat up Cardiff like never before. I confess, my excitement for this purely stems from my own little “thing” I have for gingers. 

Other intriguing highlights include a film looking at sexuality and Down’s syndrome, a trip out bed shopping turning into a trip coming out of the closet, and a look at the fears of a young teenager who doesn’t like girls, but is too scared to let his classmates know.

Interestingly, although this year’s programme of competing shorts cover the length and breadth of the globe – 14 countries represented in total – 9 are from the USA. But will it mean an American film will win it, especially after Australia’s domination at last year’s competition led to a win for Grant Scicluna’s brutal The Wildling?

Excitingly, Eytan Fox returns yet again to the festival to open it with his new film Cupcakes, following on from the fabulous success that Yossi had last year, which resulted with me presenting Ohad Knoller with the prize for “Best Actor in a Feature” alongside Amy Lamé. Speaking of which, Lamé be returning to host the glossy awards ceremony held at the Park Inn in the heart of Cardiff’s city centre. Just as exciting is that home-grown talent Simon Savory will be closing the festival with his strange and sinister début feature Bruno and Earlene Go to Vegas, which has already created a global buzz.

I’m also really looking forward to the screening of Burger, a film made by 2011 prize winner, Magnus Mork, marking the fourth short film that the prize has directly funded and produced. Given the standard of Till Kleinhert’s Boys Village and Eldar Rapaport’s Little Man, two of the previous films made with the prize money, Burger has high expectations to live up to.

So, set your sights on Cardiff, start practising how to pronounce “Dwi’n hoffi froffi coffi”, learn that song about a diminutive piece of kitchenware, and pop down to say “Shwmae!” to our friend Iris.

Iris Prize Festival will take place between 9 – 13 October 2013 in various venues around Cardiff, Wales. For more information about the prize, visit www.irisprize.org.


Edinburgh Preview: Is Monogamy Dead? (Camden Head, London)

In bed with Rosie Wilby. Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

In bed with Rosie Wilby. Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Rating: ****

Comedian, musician, and broadcaster, Rosie Wilby, has reached a crossroads in her life. Noticing that all her friends are breaking up, she wonders if monogamy is all it’s cracked up to be, and if not, what is the answer? With the help of Ed Millipede, and a selection of audience members, she explores alternative relationship structures, and what might be right for her.

This brand new show seems initially more lecture than stand-up. Armed with a flipchart and a load of “scientific” data that she’s gathered herself, a 45 minute analysis of monogamy vs polyarmory is at hand. But don’t fear; there’s still plenty of comedy.

Wilby’s style verges towards the surreal (think Eddie Izzard if he was a lesbian and wore Doc Martins instead of heels), but what has always been great about her act is the personal anecdotes and jokes that she brings to the show. Slightly self-deprecatory, she’s never self-indulgent and each moment of her life she regales us with is always relevant to the point she’s making. It’s really nice to get her quirky view on the debate, rather than actually going through a dry academic analysis. It’s this informal and personal approach that really adds a charm to the show. You really connect and laugh with her a lot, and it feels that there’s a real polyamorous relationship between you, Wilby, and the rest of the audience (ok, maybe not quite). But there’s beyond the chortles there lies a real insight into the subject that is keen and fresh. It’s her geekery and intelligence that pulls and the comedy that keeps you there.

The show is an orgy of laughs, from a makeshift game of Family Fortunes, to a live experiment with cornflakes and some “sexy” magazines. The gags themselves are incredibly wry and well observed, and often bang on the money when it comes to some of the more satirical swipes. However, there are just a few criticisms: after all, the course of true love never did run smooth. Being lesbian means that a few of Wilby’s jokes are aimed squarely at the LGBT community, meaning that some heterosexual members of the audience might be a bit bemused by some of the references. But the main issue is that the subject of monogamy/polyamoury is actually a really interesting one, and although Wilby’s ramblings and asides provide plenty of guffaws, you actually start to really want to get back to the subject at hand at points, and wish that perhaps it was all a little less meandering.

As this was a preview, and the very first time Wilby had performed the show to a paying audience, there were noticeably a few things that could be tweaked and smoothed out. But even with these taken into account, what’s already there is a really great show. By the time she’s already done the further previews in Edinburgh, the show will no doubt be a slick piece of entertainment. Ultimately, Wilby’s combination of a personable look at monogamy and some great gags result in a show with as funny as it is genuinely interesting.

Is Monogamy Dead? previewed at the Camden Head, London, NW1 0LU, on 29 July 2013 as part of the Camden Fringe Festival. For more information about the festival, visit www.camdenfringe.com.

Rosie will be playing her show at the Assembly Rooms, between 1 – 25 August 2013. Tickets are £7 (concessions available). To book, visit www.edfringe.com.

For more information on Rosie Wilby visit www.rosiewilby.com.

Please note, as this was a preview show ahead of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, some of the content may be adjusted ahead of the festival residency.


Theatre Review: Treatment (Drayton Arms, London)

Rating: **

Family: you can’t live with them, you can’t live without them. When Ryan is spending time on holiday visiting his partner and their dysfunctional family, he gets a call from his sister to say that his mother is ill and then she subsequently dies. When confronting his homophobic estranged father, Graham, for the first time in 20 years to arrange the funeral, Graham has a stroke. Then, Graham must rely on the one person he has cut out of his life out of prejudice to look after him and nurse him back to health.

Unfortunately, writer/director/actor Raymond-Kym Suttle’s new play about reconciliation is as cliché and tiresome as the opening sentence to this review, despite there being flits of wit and perception. Billed as a dark comedy, there was certainly scope in the potential of a wry look at homophobia, family, and care through humour. However, Suttle seems more content with shoe-horning in as many emotive issues and cataclysms as possible that there’s seldom any room for narrative depth or character development, let alone laughs.

Straight from curtain up there’s drama, drama, drama. Almost every actor gets up and shouts out a deeply troubled back story in a loud and lazy string of expositions that makes Eastenders look reserved and subtle. Starting with a row about drug-addiction, the play swiftly flows on to religious homophobia, the ethics of polyamory, domestic violence, and child abandonment and abuse.

If these shallow characters and issues aren’t enough, when topics such as politics and religion are discussed/screamed, the arguments Suttle puts forward are so binary and simplistic that they’re a bore. We’ve heard the point-counterpoint about those passages in the Bible far too many times for them to be engaging anymore, and a schoolboy dissection on the ethics of warfare isn’t exactly intellectual fodder. There isn’t anything surprising or new about these opinions, making them incredibly ham-handed and crass. It’s less a moral maze, and more of a moral cryptic crossword: needlessly frustrating and unrewarding.

However, asides from this incessant need to stoke some sense of moral worth through melodrama, when the plot does calm down, Suttle manages to pick out some very touching aspects of the awkward situation of Ryan and his father, the demands of being a carer, and the meaning of compassion and forgiveness. It wouldn’t be surprisingly that, given how acuminous a few of these scenes are, that Suttle has drawn from his own experiences. It’s a real shame that these moments are never given time to take hold before another truckload of tribulation comes stream-rolling in.

There is also a peek every so often to what could have been some really great characters if they weren’t constantly being concerned with being so tragic. Ryan’s twisted sense of humour is quite charming when allowed to come through, and Astrid, Graham’s extra-marital lover, is incredibly enigmatic and intriguing when not being attacked with piety.

There is also a talented cast behind the show. Getting their teeth into their roles, they really revel in the times the writing turns its attention to personality rather than catastrophe. Brodie Bass, as Ryan’s partner Owen, shares a fun and adorable rapport on stage with Suttle who plays Ryan, being most charming and believable when his character is forgiving, placid, and understanding. Michelle Fine as Astrid is also wonderfully ethereal and regal as the charismatic and carefree mistress.

But it’s Julian Bird, as Graham, that really draws your attention. Despite an introduction that’s unconvincing due to the script, Bird really excels at Graham’s seething resentment and stark vulnerability. Combining this with a ravish cantankerousness, the slow and forceful reconciliation between him and Ryan becomes more engaging to watch than it is to consider through the text.

Unfortunately, what gloss the cast do bring to the show doesn’t quite counter the hackneyed writing. More still, it’s stripped away by the unsure and often stumbling delivery of lines by others in the cast, and some unforgivably amateur blunders with sound on opening night.

It’s a shame that the clear latency for Suttle to create some great characters and bring deft insight is not realised due to this need for a constant assault on “hard-hitting” issues. Because of this, Treatment is a play that requires intensive care.

Treatment plays at the Drayton Arms, London, SW5 0LJ, until 10 August 2013. Tickets are £10 (concessions available). To book, visit http://www.thedraytonarmssw5.co.uk.


Theatre Review: You Could Move (Arcola Tent, London)

Stand on the RIGHT! Promotional image for the production. Courtesy of Outbox LGB Theatre.

Stand on the RIGHT! Promotional image for the production. Courtesy of Outbox LGB Theatre.

Rating: ****

How far have we as an LGBT community actually come? And do we have much further to go? Outbox LGB Theatre presents a portrait of the LGBT in 2013 bringing together devised pieces, verbatim, and physical theatre.

The first thing you notice is Harry Whitham’s set; it’s simple and versatile consisting of several moveable doorways fitted with blinds and lit with strip lighting. As skeletal as this seems you quickly discover that anything more is unnecessary as the sketches, testimonies, and movement pieces speak for themselves and provide the play with its hook and drive. But through Ben Buratta’s direction, Coral Messam’s fluid movement pieces, and Dominic Kennedy’s crisp electronic soundtrack these insightful vignettes become wonderfully provocative.

These are then played out by a cast of talented young actors who take to the stage with energy, wit, and abandon. The verbatim speeches feel incredibly natural as if they were their own words, and their characters in the narrative pieces are not only believable but also fun and/or moving where they need to be.

But the real joys in this piece are the subject matters they deal with and the treatment they’re given. Buratta has a lucid sense of juxtaposition that flows throughout most of the show. Popular song lyrics are also given a blissful contextual twist when performed as spoken word, black voices will be given white mouthpieces, young ones old, male ones female, and vice-versa. This stylised approached of deliberate inconsistencies only served to heighten and bring attention to the issues.

There is also an astonishing breadth of subjects dealt with: subtle internalised homophobia, the ludicrousness of online cruising, HIV, the inequality of modern laws, and much more. Yet at no point does anything feel skipped through or shallow. The combination of personal testimonies and short skits manages to create something deep yet concise.

The only criticism is that the variety wears off as the play progresses towards the end of its 90 minutes running time without interval. After a while the pace and changes in theatrical treatment become almost formulaic and start to lose their punch. Thankfully the subject matters are intriguing enough to keep your interest despite this. It’s also a shame that there weren’t more movement pieces too; a piece midway through looking at religion and sexuality was particularly striking.

It’s troubling, though, that when watching this play you really do realise how much we in a modern more liberated LGBT community take for granted, especially the younger of us. Not to mention the unresolved issues we all often overlook. You Could Move reminds us that we forget, yet this production provides mere prompts rather than opting for being preachy. The result is a fresh and frank zeitgeist that’s enjoyably entertaining and enlightening.

You Could Move plays at the Arcola Tent, London, E8 3DL, until 20 April 2013. Tickets are £10. To book visit www.arcolatheatre.com. It will then tour to Contact Theatre, Manchester, M15 6JA for a performance on 27 April 2013. Tickets are £8 (concessions available). To book visit http://contactmcr.com.