A Boy Named Sue

Theatre

C Nova (Venue 145)

Aug 6-28th

****

Totally stripped back contemporary theatre dahling, only 3 actors always on stage together, no distractions. Each voice interwoven with the other two, like standing watching the sea at night. One voice the waves coming in, another the tide rushing back out and the third is that moment in between, that point of possibility when anything can happen.

There a central themes for each character of visibilty, survival, longing and the seeking of oblivion. An agoraphobic with AIDS finds that the builders he sees through the window and his KS lesions are his only companions. In contrast a 15 year old boy is selling his body and hunting for the man who will seal his fate as well as HIV status. The two never meet or interact with each other, only with the third, who laments the gentrification of his city along with the erosion of his identity and visibility.

The overlapping monologues work remarkably well more often than not. I’m sure the intention is that all characters are equal but it is Sue who steals the show. All the best lines are hers, delivered with fragility and poise as if she were channelling Great Auntie Quentin herself. All 3 actors are also incredible, fully realising their rts

The relationships aren’t overstated, this is a tapestry with loose little ends everywhere. There’s plenty to keep you guessing and it isn’t as oversimplified and saccharin as some other shows out there.

It’s a remarkable, razor-sharp, spiraling journey from writer Bertie Darrell. The characters are complex and layered, beyond the stereotypical portrayals elsewhere this year. Given that just today we’veclearned of the death of Mark Thompson it’s comforting to know that young queer writers are coming forward and telling our stories.