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Review: Legacy Project 4

Thu 16 Feb 2017 In: Performance View at Wayback View at NDHA

I’m not sure what I expected from the 4th installment of the Legacy Project, playing now at the Q Theatre. I’d not been to the previous incarnations of the show and wasn’t sure of the standard or calibre of the work being produced. I came away really impressed. The Legacy Project has produced some excellent and inspired work from vibrant LGBTIA artists. The show is comprised of six short plays written and directed by an eclectic mix of queer artists. What struck me about was its commitment to showcasing the diversity within the LGBTIA community. In Legacy, the L and G aren’t privileged and overrepresented in the narratives. Legacy instead showcased the stories of the often-forgotten and erased. From the lamentations of the asexual aromantic to the complexities and frustrations of dating as a bisexual person, Legacy has something for every queer of every stripe. The first play, First Love, was written by Aatir Zaidi and directed by Kat Glass. It features Ravi Gurunathan as the besotted Rehān, and Agustya Chandra as Umair, the object of his affection. The play is a sweet exploration of first love with a twist. Rehān is in love with the ostensibly straight Umair, and the question of whether Umair might return Rehān’s love drives the play. Rehān’s theatrical poetic demeanor is engaging, even moreso contrasted with the simple and laidback nature of Umair. The minimalist lighting and backdrop is gorgeous and really stood out from the other plays. The second play, Coming Out Night, was written by Ryan McKee and directed by Adam Rohe, featuring Hong Jian as Grace’s dad, Kyrus Watson as Jake, Phillip Good as Harry, Sam Wilson as Grace and Sharon Robinson as Jake’s mum. It tells the story of best friends Jake and Grace trying to come out to their respective parents. Jake is a trans man and Grace an asexual aromantic. Both attempt to tell their parents and both parents assume what they’re trying to say is that they are lesbians and in a relationship. The play was to my mind the funniest of the lot but that might be because I’m a sucker for “pin the plaid on the lesbian” gags. Sharon Robinson really stood out, and was delightfully hilarious as Jake’s clueless mum. I was impressed by the comedic writing and timing of the play. It reminded me of a Friends episode (in a good way, I shamelessly still enjoy Friends.) The third play, Eternity, written by David Blakey and directed by Ryan Thornhill, featuring David Butler as Henry and Mike Howell as Andrew, was possibly the most subversive play. It’s a snapshot of a young sex worker Henry and his older lover Andrew having their usual lunch together and discussing their future. This play was interesting and compelling, and it was good to see sex workers being portrayed in a positive light. David Butler did well as the young Henry, though I wasn’t quite convinced of the central love story. Still, the dialogue was well-written and I appreciated the unconventional tale of romance. The fourth play, Callum In The Aftermath, written by Prior Mcrae, directed by Cole Meyers and featuring Rhi Munro as the Nurse, Jo Clark as Tracey and Prior Mcrae as Callum. This play manages to explore a lot of themes in its short story. Parental alienation, gender and sexuality, body image and disordered eating is all thrust into the limelight in this piece. The play felt deeply personal yet simultaneously relatable - an impressive feat. While the topics were dark, moments of humour punctured the heavier moments, giving the play some lightness. Possibly my favourite moment of the night was when Callum dramatically cried “Who would want to have sex with me!” and my date for the night replied loud enough for everyone to hear “Uh, I would”. Mcrae, having written the play as well as performed in it, perfectly played the tortured yet hilariously sarcastic Callum. The fifth play, Daddy Issues, was written by Pedro Diegues, directed by Jake Love, featuring Joe Nathan as Pete, Steve Ciprian as Simon and Steven Glyde as Ray. This play explores the relationship dilemmas of the modern gay man. The question of whether to assimilate into heterosexual relationship norms or carve your own path is a question that has raged within the lgbtqia community since the marriage equality movement. 2.5 children, a wedding band and a white picket fence - is that what “equality” means? Daddy Issues asks that question. I enjoyed the generational interplay between Ray and Simon. It was impressive that while the characters were fleshed out as people, they also represented different facets and ideas within the lgbtqia community. The final play, Two Lovers Sit On A Park Bench Holding Hands In The Moonlight, written by Hannah Owen Wright and directed by Racheal Longshaw-Park, featuring Ben Black as Him and Maya Wyatt as Her, delved into what it is like to date men as a bisexual/queer woman. This one resonated with me in many ways, I suppose it was the most personal one for me, as someone who dabbles with dating men on occasion. Ben Black was great as the dumbfounded, confused and slightly simple Him, especially in juxtaposition to Maya Wyatt’s electric and passionate poetics. All in all, a dazzling display of local talent. Highly recommend a trip to the Q Theatre to see the Legacy Project 4. Tickets available here. Justine Sachs - 16th February 2017    

Credit: Justine Sachs

First published: Thursday, 16th February 2017 - 10:01pm

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