My Son's A Queer (But What Can You Do?) ★★★★★ The Turbine Theatre | June 17 - July 17, 2021


Rob Madge, author and performer of My Son's A Queer (But What Can You Do?) knows exactly where he's at; even the title is a sly reference to Les Misérables. Using his childhood home videos we come to understand how he developed from a precocious little kid obsessed with Disney Princesses to the flamboyant performer here before us. In other hands this could simply be self-indulgently mawkish but director Luke Sheppard expertly manages to keep the show on track and coaxes a terrific, frequently very funny, performance from Madge. Having turned down footballs, we see his palpable disappointment when Rob's dad gets him a Beast costume as opposed to Belle's yellow gown which he craved. How lucky this child was to have such a supportive family – particularly his dad. Many moments will resonate with audience members, none more so than his teacher's cruel dismissal of his love of performing – “Being theatrical won't help him make friends.” Throughout, there are Pippa Cleary's well sung and presented songs, and the show also benefits from Ryan Dawson Laight's seemingly realistic but deceptively complicated set. At its heart this is a moving cri de coeur for sympathetic parenting and acceptance that "it doesn't have to be a choice of two.” The show reaches a tremendous emotional climax when Rob receives a puppet theatre for Christmas: the tearful delight on the boy's face seen in the video is balanced by Madge lovingly playing with the actual puppets on stage. This is theatrical magic!

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Mark Senior.

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