Review: Queer Planet, Camden People’s Theatre

Bi-curious George presents a nature documentary with a difference in the delightful Queer Planet at Camden People’s Theatre and on tour

“It’s gonna get weird”

Drag king Bi-curious George has a lot to say. About the natural world and about queerness, about humans and about animals, all rolled up into the delightful hour-long cabaret-of-sorts that is Queer Planet. Riffing on the ever-popular nature documentaries with their booming voiceovers, there’s drag, lip-sync, parody songs, jokes aplenty, audience participation and no small measure of fascinating facts about animals who don’t settle for 2.4 children.

So on the face of it, we’ve got a seahorse singing Sonny and Cher and a snail who breaks out into Paolo Nutini’s ‘Last Request’ now and then. But there’s something more significant at play here, a wriggling into the chrysalis of that form of the nature doc and a transformational emergence into something more open-minded that embraces the full diversity of the natural world, without seeking to force it into pervasive (Western) heteronormative societal structures.

The show is a great balance of education and entertainment – I love how much I now know about the sexual behaviour of Japanese macaques – and is as deeply felt as it is funny. The long journey of the albatross, soundtracked by the Black Eyed Peas to Robyn to an exuberant rewrite of Nelly Furtado, encapsulates its joy perfectly, but all of the special guests who join us onstage end up having something to teach us.

It also helps that George is a deeply comforting stage presence, witty without being caustic and hilariously responsive to the crowd. I appreciated his guidance and conduct around audience participation too – I would normally be up for it but solo and sober on a Wednesday night wasn’t the one for me and so declining the offer was no big deal for either of us, a small but vital thing that is often overlooked. A recommended show, I’m just off to the library to get reading ‘Biological Exuberance’.

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