REVIEW: It’s 20-fucking-18 and it only gets gayer

WORDS BY SANDRA BUOL

The music is there. The drawings are there. The dirty old couch is there. The lights are there. The letters are there. Welcome to Strang…. Queerer Things, where nothing is quite the way it used to be.

DSC_1273.JPG

It’s almost to the hour six months after Australia said overwhelmingly YES to marriage equality and as you can imagine, the world has changed a lot in the meantime. Donald Trump’s name is mentioned in the same sentence as the Nobel Peace Prize. Joyce Buyers is still looking for her son. Tony Abbott is forced to do conversion therapy. Straight kids are bullied in school. “The Gays” are in charge now.
 
Not.
 
For the non-gays, nothing has changed. The world hasn’t been devoured by the Demogorgon. Society isn’t upside down. Nothing new on the straight front.

Nevermind the traumatic experience of exposing a whole community to judgement, bullying, scrutiny, belittlement. Nevermind that the fight is far from being won – we need some comic relief here. And the Queer Revue is here to give it to you.
 
Directors Henry Hulme and Grace Franki have put together a show that deserves its name. They welcome the audience “to enter the moist and strangely warm cavity of the Upside Down” that is the intimate Reginald Theatre at the Seymour Centre. But don’t be afraid. The Demogorgon is much less slimy and much more lingerie-clad than you remember, Will Buyers dances just as awkwardly as is to be expected from a kid in the 80s, Barb actually has the hots for women and Wynona Ryder joins the cast for a stage-adaption of her most important character – or so you would think when you observe the brilliant Sophie Morrissey. The same nervous fiddling, the smoking, the running around – Joyce Buyers is here and she is great.

edIMG_8523.jpg

So is the whole ensemble cast. The strength of Queerer Things are the sketches, which form the major part of the show. Inevitably, some of them fall flat. But most of them are pointed comments of all those everyday situations that are well-known to the average queer folk. A few songs and dance elements – including Diana Ross’ Upside Down (for obvious reasons) and Bonnie Tyler’s I Need A Hero (adapted for Barb, who needs a woman) – compliment the sketches and were a personal favour of mine, despite some sound difficulties. And it wouldn’t be a Queer Revue if there wasn’t some nudity, a pair of fishnet stockings, a gag ball and an Ellen joke.

Queerer Things is a show put together with much love – despite everything, they still have so much to give –, great attention to detail, tremendous comic talent and a healthy dose of sarcasm about the current state of the country.
 
It’s on for two more nights, though rumour has it (or Facebook announcements) that the shows are sold out.
 
 
Postscript: What is it with tall blonde queer babes and their fantastic side cuts? And why doesn’t it work on me? I guess it’s the glasses…


Image credit:
Harriet Jane
Victoria Nelson and editing by Antony Youssef (header image)

Pulp Editors