Part text, part dance, part cabaret, Flawed _like a b_y is a queer, sexy, confronting and often dark work by UK based No Offence Theatre.
Exploring homophobia through the eyes of an Australian boy in the 80’s struggling to exist in a heteronormative world, the work delves into what it means to be a ‘boy’ conforming to a pre existing straight narrative – reflected in the excellent use of voice over on traditional aussie masculinity.
Queer performer BJ McNeill, who writes and directs the work, is an intriguing artist. His commitment to telling his experience, his truth, is both challenging and engaging. The journey is perilous. ’Red wine, ecstasy and heavy rock’ become his mantra. Risky sex and self harm his awakening. It’s a powerful warning of how damaging and catastrophic societal expulsion can be. McNeill’s text is complicated, rapid, potent and angry and his talent as an emerging playwright with something important to say, challenging conventions is invigorating to experience.
Heightened by a brilliant soundtrack the action flips between the spoken word and dance breaks. (choreographer Claudia Subiela Ferre) It transports to any gay club anywhere, where discovery and acceptance collide. From thrash to iconic gay divas, Marilyn Manson to Peaches’ “Dick in the Air” complete with giant, thrusting stuffed dicks! It’s free and confronting. And that is its intent.
Performers Rebecca Montalti and Mitchell Wilson are the chorus as such in McNeill’s journey and are as sexy and as bold as the soundtrack. Clad in gender diverse black, the trio, reminiscent of ‘In Bed with Madonna’, are sarcastic, full of sass, giving the bird to societal conventions.
This work will divide. It will challenge. But that is exactly what No Offence Theatre set out to achieve – to create contemporary challenging and political works that confront, expose and educate.
As part of Midsummer Festival this work deserves to be seen by more than the few who ventured out into the heat last night. But FYI – La Mama Courthouse is deliciously air-conditioned!!!
Flawed_like a b_y has 3 more performances in Melbourne Fri, Sat 7.30pm & Sun 4pm @ La Mama Courthouse before heading to Adelaide Fringe