Safe ★★★★ Hackney Empire (online) | From April 19, 2021 - FREE


Using the real stories of gay and trans youth associated with The Albert Kennedy Trust, Alexis Gregory has created a compelling piece of theatre. Safe immerses us in the challenges these young people face and humanises the grim statistic that one quarter of homeless and at-risk individuals identify as LGBTQ+. Each of the actors captures the strength it takes to come to terms with the complexity of self-acceptance in what is often a very hostile social environment. Taofique Folarin brings alive the struggles of being gay in a traditional Nigerian family, and May Kelly evokes empathy and compassion as she describes her self-medication with alcohol in order to cope with her sexual identity. Elijah Ferreira radiates positivity and hope as a trans gay man despite the challenges he faces. Mary Malone also inspires with her gritty presentation of a child bounced among foster homes who still grows into a strong trans woman. The intimacy of the documentary's almost confessional form sometimes seems to clash with the theatricality of the piece's presentation, but the authenticity of the narratives and the performances shine through. Indeed, it would be impossible not to be touched by the raw courage shown in these real stories of young people who are forced to strive so hard to simply be who they are.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Jane Hobson.

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