Sometimes the best thing about theatre is that you can make it local. While Midsumma’s Gaybies play boasted an all-star cast with the likes of Todd McKenny, Magda Szubanski and Trevor Ashley. Melt Festival at Brisbane Powerhouse showcases some home grown talent, including actors, arts practitioners, journalists and politicians.
Gaybies play was written by Dean Bryant is verbatim theatre, sharing intimate real-life stories of children from same-sex parents. It’s smart, simple and sensible commentary, direct from the mouths of our most precious resource: children. Through the voice of babes, issues made so complicated by adults including same sex marriage, surrogacy and adoption seem so absurd and so pathetically argued with a lack of logic through a child’s observation. But that’s what children do well, they observe, they just ‘be’, they can sense ‘phony’ and clearly articulate the obvious. This cleverly adapted work of interwoven interviews is layered with descriptive visualisations of gay, lesbian and bi-sexual parents just like it’s a very normal thing to have same sex parents (well, it was in the 1970’s).
Gaybies directed without little fuss by Kris Stewart, the stage is set at a child’s birthday, we are met with a party mix of talent dressed in a palette of bright colors. Stand out, hilarious performances from Emily Gilhome, Brad Rush, Margi Brown Ash and Christopher Wayne, including brother and sister couple Rebecca McIntosh and Kurt Phelan, – especially their hilarious rants of their lesbian mother ‘Jac’. The real storytellers of the night are Xanthe Coward, Blair Martin, Libby Antis, Pat O’Neil and Barbara Lowing. Supported by the vocal bliss of Lizzy Moore and Gordon Hamilton, the innocents are portrayed by Brittany Francis and Bec Zanetti while the surprise performance of the night goes to David Berthold, he plays the defiant child so convincingly, he’s relatable and his felt tip drawings are exceptional.
The Gaybies play is very theatre friendly, a must see for anyone who has a child, who has a same sex parent or anyone who has a heart, I only wished the Sydney locations ‘Redfern and Arc’ were changed to local references like ‘New Farm and Fluffy’, then it would feel like a real family.