Review: Queer Trilogy, Drayton Arms

The Queer Trilogy of A Sticky Season, Minor Disruptions & Crystal Bollix presents The Bitch Ball proves something of a mixed bag at the Drayton Arms

“I am finally ready to learn”

Recent Mountview grads Jack Donald, Katie Paterson and Alexandra Christle have banded together to mount Queer Trilogy, a triple bill of shows at the Drayton Arms that probes interestingly at queer identities, how they’re shaped and formed by past and present but also complicated by the mere act of being. They’re further challenged by being bound together in this format which doesn’t necessarily suit them so well.

For they are three disparate, diverse pieces. Christie’s Crystal Bollix Presents The Bitch Ball is a drag act that delves into the social construct of the word bitch and how its continued cultural significance filters down to the individual. Through the use of lip-syncing and some very game audience participation, Bollix’s personality shines through but the piece doesn’t quite have the emotional resonance to achieve the depths it wants.

Paterson’s Minor Disruptions also feels like a work in progress, though one with much potential. Adopting an almost music hall-style persona, a series of sketches guide us through a complex portrait of childhood which, she argues, can be as emotionally challenging a time as any, especially for a queer kid (or a hamster…). Teething problems with the production can be smoothed out but a stronger through-line would also be useful to pull it all together.

Those two shows make up a raucous second act, which sits in direct contrast to the poetic languorousness of Donald’s A Sticky Season. Drawing on the histories of queer icons Joe Orton and Gaetan Dugas, it follows a young queer man trying to determine the butterfly effect of their experiences on his own life as he searches for a meaning that isn’t always immediately apparent.

Donald’s performance of his own monologue is ably assisted by Marcus McManus and Rosie-Lea Sparkle who extend and expand his world whether in a fuller expression of feeling or making concrete the supporting characters dancing around him. Altogether, the three pieces sit a little awkwardly right next to each other but in some ways, there’s nothing queerer than that. Three names to look out for. 

Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes (with interval)
Queer Trilogy is booking at the Drayton Arms until 23rd March

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