Dublin Gay Theatre Festival: Comedic explorations of identity and authenticity

Amanda Brunker’s Curiosity and Brian Merriman’s Straight Acting kick off the festival

A day spent reviewing two of the main offerings in the first week of the 19th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival is broken into two even halves. The first focuses on female sexual identity and the second on notions of what it means to be a “real” man.

CURIOSITY

Players Theatre, Trinity College Dublin
★★★★☆

First is Curiosity, a comedic two-hander written and directed by Amanda Brunker, which explores issues of female sex and sexuality in a light-hearted and inoffensive manner.

In a health farm where the winter vomiting bug is forcing everyone to isolate in their rooms, we are introduced to two female protagonists. Amy is a southside career woman who has recently discovered that her husband of four years has been sleeping around with other men.

Traumatised by walking in on him and his Brazilian lover, she has decided to purge herself physically to purge herself emotionally.

Martha is a brassy, middle-aged bisexual whose husband has forced her into Dublin’s thriving swingers scene. She seduces the uptight Amy and a relationship develops which grows from initial mistrust to unexpected intimacy, “us girls should never forget about the orgasms”.

Sorcha Furlong, as Martha, and Annette Flynn, as Amy, take little time to get into their stride, but once they stop performing to the audience and start reacting to each other, they deliver Brunker’s witty and clever dialogue with an impressive range of emotions.

A riot of good old fashioned Dublin humour, the play packs a punch and is not to be missed.

At Players Trinity College Dublin until May 7th at 7.30pm, Saturday matinee at 12.30pm

STRAIGHT ACTING

Teacher's Club, Dublin
★★★★★

Later in the day, the intimate setting of the Teacher’s Club is perfect for writer-director Brian Merriman’s highly polished and stylish Straight Acting. Another comedic two-hander, only this one features two men, one gay one straight. Harry (Jeremie Cyr-Cooke) and Alan (Colin Malone) deliver exquisite performances full of energy and gravitas from the start.

In a clever take on Shaw’s Pygmalion, we learn that Harry must somehow teach Alan how to play a gay man with authenticity for an audition in just twenty-four hours’s time. What ensues is a hysterical juxtaposition of masculine authority as Alan learns how to be a real man by looking to the person and not the gender when it comes to intimacy.

There is clever use of the score from My Fair Lady throughout in what is nothing less than a homosexual tour de force.

Playing nightly at 9pm until May 7th, Saturday matinee at 2.30pm, gaytheatre.ie

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