Village Pub Theatre LGBT Innovators 2

The Village Pub Theatre’s second evening of short new dramas at the Traverse, in celebration of LGBT History Month, came with a wonderfully louche vibe, thanks to the easy MC-ing style of Miss Annabel Sings (and, yes, she does) of Edinburgh-based Dive Cabaret. It’s fair to say that she successfully used humour and song to ease the audience into six theatrical experiences which – typical of VPT – proved to be a wide-ranging and diverse collection.

Again ably directed by Caitlin Skinner, the six shorts relied upon a slightly bigger cast than the night before

The evening started off, for example, with Sylvia Dow’s Initial Moves which, in pure Sesame Street-style, added some cultural flesh and bones to the initials LGBT. (“G”, for example, was a re-enactment of a scene from Basil Bearden’s 1961 British film Victim, in which Dirk Bogarde played an in-the-closet and married lawyer who goes after a blackmailer – apparently it’s the first film to use the word “homosexual”.) Next came Jonathan Holt’s Question 6, a glimpse into a form-filling future where homosexuality is once again the cause of official censor; while arguably saddled with an obvious “twist”, Holt nevertheless manages to end things on a more optimistic note than you might expect. Finally, Deb Jones Opium Den took us back to 1920s Paris where two madly-in-love women repeatedly contradicted and confirmed the explosive joy of their relationship.

Following the interval, Sophie Good’s Are you a boy or are you a girl? gamely mixed verbatim quotes from LGBT people with the heteronormative boundaries of a primary school classroom where the word of the day was “normal”. In contrast, Ellie Stewart’s Burds in Space proved a touching exploration of the relationship between Sally Ride – who, in June 1983, became the first female American astronaut – and her partner Tam Elizabeth O’Shaughnessy. (Host Miss Annabel Sings voiced the concerns of many about this piece’s use of a stepladder, but a risk assessment had indeed been carried out beforehand.) Lastly, Louise E Knowles’s Meeting People is Easy showed us one man’s introduction to geosocial networking app Grindr, and how – despite what you might think – “It’s not just about sex”, but helping gay and bisexual men find some kind of community, however they wish to define it.

Again ably directed by Caitlin Skinner, the six shorts relied upon a slightly bigger cast than the night before; Michael Dylan, Ikram Gilani, Louise Ludgate, Gilchrist Muir, and Vari Sylvester again proved they could deliver rounded and believable performances despite limited rehearsal time. So, if you’re looking for genuine theatrical talent of all kinds – except (obviously) set, costume, and lighting design – then keep an eye out for the Village Pub Theatre. And for the Traverse – which has long described itself as “Scotland’s New Writing Theatre” – which has given this talented collective an invaluable additional platform.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Multiple Venues

Nests

★★★
Dundee Rep Theatre / Macrobert Arts Centre

The Yellow on the Broom

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tom Neenan: It's Always Infinity

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Police Cops in Space

★★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Rik Carranza: Still a Fan

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Marmite

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

To celebrate LGBT History Month, Village Pub Theatre is taking over the Traverse Bar Café for two nights with short plays under the theme of 'LGBT Innovators’.

Wednesday 24 February:

▪ Six short plays responding to the theme LGBT Innovators from Ellie Stewart, Jonathan Holt, Deb Jones, Sophie Good, Louise E Knowles and Sylvia Dow. Directed by Caitlin Skinner.

▪ With Special Guest Host Miss Annabelle Sings from Dive Cabaret.

▪ Celebratory LGBT Innovators after-show party with DJ.