As the spring theatre season starts to gather momentum, there are some great gay-themed plays in and around the UK. Here are four plays to keep an eye out for.
Everyone’s Talking About Jamie – Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.
Jamie New is sixteen. He’s from Sheffield. And he has a secret. He doesn’t quite fit in at school. His Dad’s left home. He’s about to sit his GCSEs. The future is terrifying. With his brilliant mum behind him, will Jamie be brave enough to stand up for who he really wants to be? A coming-of-age story with a twist, with catchy new songs by lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling Dan Gillespie Sells and writer Tom MacRae (Doctor Who), this brand new musical will have everybody talking about Jamie for years to come. Based on the BBC3 documentary, Jamie – Drag Queen at Sixteen, the world premiere of this new musical runs at Sheffield Theatres from the 9th – 25th February 2017. Visit www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk for details and listen to the first song from the show below.
Gypsy Queen – Doncaster CAST and National Tour
Written, in part, as a response to Tyson Fury’s comments that “there are only three things that need to be accomplished before the devil comes home and one of them is homosexuality being legal.”; this play tells the tale of The Gypsy King, a boxer who leaves his travelling community roots behind him to pursue his career. “Gorgeous” George O’Connell is taken on by a professional boxing coach, whose own son Dane ‘The Pain’ Samson is openly gay, and as they train together, George learn much more about himself that he ever thought he would. But Dane is fighting his own battles that lead to a tragedy that neither could predict. Set in the testosterone-fuelled world of boxing, this play looks at what happens in the traditionally masculine world of the sport when everything about someone’s culture and identity are confronted by their greatest fear. This play contains strong language, full frontal nudity and scenes of a sexual nature. Gypsy Queen plays at Doncaster CAST Theatre on the 12th April 2017 (www.castindoncaster.com ) and national tour.
La Cage Aux Folles – Leeds Grand Theatre and National Tour.
Georges is the manager of a Saint Tropez nightclub, his partner Albin is a drag artiste and the club’s star attraction. They live an idyllic existence in the south of France until Georges’ son Jean-Michel announces his engagement to the daughter of a notorious right-wing politician; a politician who is determined to close down the local colourful night-life. This lavishly funny tale follows the gay couple desperately trying to “play it straight” as the families meet; and celebrates unconditional love, family values and that life’s not worth a damn ‘till you can say I am what I am.’ Better known to many as “The Birdcage”, this 1983 classic musical is embarking on its first ever national tour, and stars John Partridge (Eastenders), and West End leading lady Marti Webb. La Cage Aux Folles is at Leeds Grand from the 20th to the 25th March 2017 (www.leedsgrandtheatre.com), as part of its current national tour (http://www.kenwright.com/microsite/la-cage-aux-folles/ )
Miss Meena and the Masala Queens – West Yorkshire Playhouse and National Tour.
Dazzling saris, grand Bollywood lip-sync dance numbers and queues of adoring fans – for Miss Meena this is all now a distant memory. The once famous and fabulous drag queen has lost his sparkle and like his nightclub is washed up and out of date. The punters have gone and whilst the other drag queens are strutting their high-heels elsewhere, property developers are circling like vultures waiting for Miss Meena to give up the lease to the club. With the club on its knees, a new arrival brings a glittery rainbow of hope. But just as things are starting to look up for Miss Meena, a visitor from the past makes him question everything he ever stood for. This new production promised to be fun, vivacious and heart-warming. Ms Meena and the Masala Queens is at West Yorkshire Playhouse from the 13th to the 17th June 2017 (www.wyp.org.uk ) as part of its national tour. Visit http://rifcoarts.com/shows/miss-meena-the-masala-queens for details.
In between visits to the theatre, watching films, photography, walking, scuba diving and singing (badly); Paul writes for TheGayUK.
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