Review: Gypsy Queen, VAULT Festival

“We’re all friends of Dorothy but you’re the cowardly lion”

Rob Ward has form when it comes to examining how homophobia is entrenched in the world of sport. His one-man show Away From Home looked at whether the Premiership might ever be ready for an out gay footballer with intelligence and integrity. But it is to the boxing ring that Ward now turns his attention with his play Gypsy Queen, already an award-nominated success after touring the UK and playing Edinburgh last year.

Dane ‘The Pain’ Sansom is the son of a boxing legend and a pretty nifty boxer himself, ‘Gorgeous’ George O’Connell is a bare-knuckle champion from the traveller community making his first steps into the world of professional boxing. And when George rocks up at the gym owned by Dane’s dad, sparks soon fly as their respective cockiness rubs up against each other, and sure enough, it isn’t too long before you can remove the -iness from that last bit as they get to know each other better in the shower. Continue reading “Review: Gypsy Queen, VAULT Festival”

Review: Away from Home, Jermyn Street Theatre

“This isn’t about gay rights, this is about self respect” 

Can culture capture society at a tipping point? Looking at theatrical representations of football in London, the Bush, the Royal Court and now the Jermyn Street theatres have all put on plays dealing with the (sometimes) thorny issue of homosexuality in football suggesting that we might be ready for a change. But then last weekend saw torrid rumours of a Premiership footballer about to come out to a Sunday paper followed by wanton accusations, hasty denials and the ongoing childish obsession with whether the game can ‘cope’ with a player being open about his sexuality.

Previously seen last year in Manchester and now embarking on a UK tour, Rob Ward and Martin Jameson’s Away From Home takes a slightly different look at the subject, taking the form of a one man show focused on male escort Kyle. He may be out to his friends and family and thoroughly accepted as one of the footy-mad lads down the local but his professional life remains a secret, something which is tested when he is first hired by a well-known footballer, and then subsequently finds himself falling for him. Continue reading “Review: Away from Home, Jermyn Street Theatre”

The 2013 Manchester Theatre Awards nominations

Best Actor
David Birrell, Sweeney Todd, Royal Exchange
Kenneth Branagh, Macbeth, Manchester International Festival, St Peter’s Church
Nigel Cooke, To Kill A Mockingbird, Royal Exchange
Paul Webster, Sugar Daddies, Oldham Coliseum
Jack Wilkinson, David Copperfield, Oldham Coliseum

Best Actress
Marianne Benedict, Chicago, Oldham Coliseum
Cush Jumbo, A Doll’s House, Royal Exchange
Gillian Kearney, Educating Rita, Library at The Lowry
Alex Kingston, Macbeth, Manchester International Festival, St Peter’s Church
Maxine Peake, Masque Of Anarchy, Manchester International Festival, Albert Hall
Shannon Tarbet, To Kill A Mockingbird, Royal Exchange Continue reading “The 2013 Manchester Theatre Awards nominations”