Gypsy Queen ****



AUGUST 2ND TO 26TH (NOT 14,21)


This is a hot and dynamic show about struggling to be true to your gay self whatever the circumstances. The big question asked in the publicity is – can two men raised to fight ever learn to love? Each other, that is. Get along and see this show and you should have a better idea about that.

The story concerns “Gorgeous” George O’Connell, a bareknuckle fighter who joins a professional boxing gym. He meets an openly gay boxer, Dane Sampson, who takes a liking to George. What will ensue?

The play is written by actor and writer Rob Ward, whom some people will remember from his stunning performance in Away From Home three years ago. Alongside Ward is Ryan Clayton as Dane, who is trained as a boxer and who puts Gorgeous George through his paces.

One of the pleasures of this show is the ease and fluency with which these two actors move between a variety of roles, whether it be Dane’s earlier boyfriend, father and mother figures –whatever extra character is required, these guys can switch roles at the flick of a switch.

There is a great deal of action in this play, some of it steamy, and there are also moments of insight and deep connection between characters. It is presented by Hope Theatre Company based in Manchester, a company specialising in LGBT work, and the guys we see in this play are passionate about the acceptance of LGBT performers in sport generally – one of the areas where, even in Britain, much work still needs to be done.

See this play and laugh and be engrossed and feel pity and see why it is so important that people can be gay and proud whatever their profession or way of life.

Tony Challis