Despite much progress being made for equality in Europe during the last decades there are still 6 countries in the world where being gay is an offence punishable by death and 75 by imprisonment.
Sensitively grappling with the melting pot of issues in this story from religious fanaticism, female inequality and violent bigotry Urch avoids being reductive by creating nuanced characters who are neither wholly good or evil.
The Rolling Stone is a new play by Chris Urch which courageously and sensitively considers the reality of living life as a gay man within Ghana, a country which has sadly seen much persecution of its gay community.
A heartfelt family drama The Rolling Stone sees Joe (Sule Rimi) and Sam (Julian Moore-Cooke) forced to hide their romance from Joe’s religious family. With natural on stage chemistry the actors portray an ordinary couple that have to meet in secret to keep their relationship safe from prying eyes. But as mob hatred in the community reaches boiling point they begin to fear for their lives and for Joe this means choosing between Sam and his family.
Sensitively grappling with the melting pot of issues in this story from religious fanaticism, female inequality and violent bigotry Urch avoids being reductive by creating nuanced characters who are neither wholly good or evil. Joe’s sister Wummie (Faith Omole) is revolted by her brother’s sexuality but she also loves him deeply, sacrificing her own education to pay for his. Likewise although his preacher brother violently denounces ‘homos’ in the pulpit ultimately he is willing to sacrifice himself to save Joe’s life.
This said their infuriating inability to accept Joe for who he is lies at the heart of this ultimately tragic story. Urch’s emotionally complex script is intelligently handled by the cast who bring the drama to its climax in a whirl of misplaced anger and heartbreak. Faith Alabi should be particularly praised for her silent, poised portrayal of Naome who is left dumb with grief when her lover is killed by a homophobic mob.
This gripping and frightening story is shocking as it reminds us that there are still many people in the world facing violent persecution for their sexuality. The Rolling Stone is an empathetic drama that courageously confronts this behaviour and sensitively explores varying attitudes to sex, love, sacrifice and belief.