A Boy Named Sue

A Boy Named Sue written by Bertie Darrell provides an interesting insight into the experiences of members of the LGBT+ community, played with great energy by the cast of three. Standing on a bare stage, director Claudia Lee is clearly smart and confident enough to let the script and actors shine without any gimmickry.

An admirable production which commendably brings to light many issues that members of the LGBT+ community already know too well.

Jack Harrold as “Sue” easily steals the show, being not just the most engaging and strongest written character with some fabulous one-liners but he is also the actor who seems to be the most comfortable inhabiting his character’s skin. Although the flamboyant and witty Sue can veer towards caricature at points, Harrold’s impeccable comic timing and barely contained anxiety (like a tightly wound spring ready to go off) brings a much needed and understated honesty to the show. On the other hand Oseloka Obi, as the angry and insecure Ian, and Charlie Jones, as the homeless and underage rent-boy, Louie, have slightly more challenging parts to play in the show and consequently seem to be finding their feet. It feels like Darrell has tried to tackle a few too many issues and has relied on a few too many stereotypical narratives about the LGBT+ community – you can tick AIDS, rent boys, transvestism and overcompensating masculinity off the checklist amongst others. As such we only ever receive glimpses of these characters and their inner lives rather than going much beyond the surface.

On the whole it is an admirable production which commendably brings to light many issues that members of the LGBT+ community already know too well. However one can’t help feeling that one hour doesn’t prove to be enough time to properly tackle these issues in the depth and care that they deserve, indeed, by the end one is left with more of a feeling of resigned helplessness, rather than hope that the characters’ situations will improve.

Reviews by Liam Rees

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Ian’s date is going badly. Louie pimps himself online. Sid is struggling to become Sue. The gay community has vanished, but what happens when people are thrown out of their comfort zones and forced to find solace in one another. A Boy Named Sue examines the need for a sense of community in an oppressively hetero-normative world. It looks at how humans can form friendships in the most unlikely of places. It’s a story about loneliness and becoming who you were meant to be.

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