BWW Review: THE HOMOSEXUALS OR FAGGOTS Gives No Queer Quarter at Merlyn Theatre
REVIEW BY GUEST WRITER Jack Matthews
When I was a little boy I had a great time dressing up as a fairy. If you asked me then how I identified, I might have cocked my head, farted, giggled, then offered you bite of my Vegemite sandwich. Ask me these days and I only wish my answer would still be as profound.
A farce is a beautiful thing; train-wreck TV in HD with close-ups of all the gory details. Lee Lewis' production of The Homosexuals, or Faggots, airs our societal dirty laundry as we have a good laugh, then a hard swallow at the realization that we've collectively shat the bed. We crave to be seen as the whole and complex humans that we are, and spend our lives exploring and forming our identity. Sadly, the understanding we allow for ourselves in the process seldom extends to others. Instead we prescribe to clumsy labels slapped on our foreheads like nutritional information on bags of Fruit Loops.
The Homosexuals burns the house down laughing, in a familiar universe where nothing is sacred. Despite our best efforts and good intentions, the inevitable blind spots mean each of us, one way or another, represents everything that is wrong in someone else's world. Greene's writing flies off the page in all directions and if you are easily offended, you may find you actually have a great time in the process. Marg Horell's set design kept us guessing with trapdoor sofas, a catwalk worthy of Project Runway, and an apartment storage to make IKEA blush. Although some moments didn't sizzle quite like they might if the stakes were higher, The Homosexuals tackled the very stark realities of relationships, identity, and how we compromise ourselves to fit in. The relationships were all there textually and this production had a great time exploding the taboo with controversial content, but could've dived deeper into the cost these things have on our lives if that was the intention for audiences to walk away with.
Mama Alto as Pam gives us mistaken identity delight and Genevieve Lemon's prop comedy gold was worthy of Lesley Nielsen's Wrongfully Accused. Peter Ustinov said it well, "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious" Greene's writing thrives big bold characters about to have their worst day. It takes their most absurd world views, dials them to eleven, and goes hard into those realities to murder us with tragic laughter. In this regard, Lemon's closing monologue alone was worth the ticket price.
So see The Homosexuals and enjoy an hour akin to being shouted at across the Flinders St platforms on Flinders St at 2am on a Sunday and not caring one little bit.
Tickets available here.