How to Be a Sissy with Percy Q Shun

The Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight prompts an evening of light-hearted, harmless, 80s-inspired fun. Percy Q Shun delivers four exuberant lessons on how to be the best sissy (homosexual) you can be, interspersed with alter-ego (real life) Brian Haimbach who educated the audience on the prejudice he faced growing up in 1980s conservative South Carolina.

Effectively captured us with his narrative and manages to entertain between some heavy subject matter.

Brian wins his audience over with his likeable personality; genuinely funny, gracious and honest, he is the ideal host. Audience interaction is kept to a minimum but is appropriate and avoided being tacky or assuming. What makes Brian’s company so comfortable was his openness, his spontaneity and the fact he never expects sympathy for the hardships he had endured. His embodiment of two personas is perfect as the flamboyantly camp Percy Q Shun balanced charmingly with the depth of Brian’s anecdotes.

Beneath the ostentatious suit jacket, impulsive humour and funky 80s playlist lay some serious topics. Brian addresses racial and sexual prejudice of the American south in a casual, happy-go-lucky style, but ensured the severity of his teenage abuse was conveyed. The insight he provided into the contradictions between public and private sphere were enlightening, and his tasteful, confident approach to self-love was inspirational.

The whole show, written and directed by Haimbach, is articulate and intelligent, yet communicated in a subtle, witty manner. Brian put realisation into an American cliché of the southern states which is often lost in the exaggeration of television and film. His real-life experiences invite us into a racist, sexist, homophobic world in which Brian overcame adversity. He captures this in the poignant line “middle school Brian could never have stood up in front of you all”. Against the backdrop of disco tracks played organically from an iPod, and hailing Bugs Bunny as the saviour of all sissies, Brian effectively captured us with his narrative and manages to entertain between some heavy subject matter.

Brian (and his sissy counterpart)’s best trait is that he never takes himself too seriously. The abuse he suffered was horrendous, but to see him now, a strong, married, proud gay man, is heart-warming. Though, definitely not as heart-warming as his fabulous dance moves.

Reviews by Yasmin Duggal

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The Blurb

Percy is your host for tonight’s lessons on being the best sissy you can be. If you grew up in the 80s, or even if you never wore a mullet, Percy will help you live up to your sissy potential! Along the way, Brian pops in to tell us what life was like as a sissy in the conservative south. They may pull at your heart strings, but if Percy has his way, you will walk out with a more confident swish in your step. A world premiere gay romp!

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