After delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, new company Pachyderm Theatre are finally ready to present their production of Queers this December. Playing at the Projector from 3rd to 5th December, as its title suggests, the theatre piece is all about LGBTQ people, and charts their lived experience over the last 100 years.
Commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of the ‘Wolfenden Report’ of 1957, Queers brings together eight of the UK’s best queer writers were invited to create one piece each (curated and edited by Mark Gatiss). Every piece is written from a unique historical perspective, and while the characters are fictional, the stories are real, coming together to show the true history of the parliamentary legislation that led to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain.
The playlets presented include:
The Man on the Platform by Mark Gatiss, as performed by Shahid Nasheer. In 1917, Percy is a medic in the British Army. Gross Indecency is a criminal offence, and actively prosecuted. But he’s never done anything ‘wrong’ because he couldn’t bear to see his mum look disappointed.
The Perfect Gentleman by Jackie Clune, as performed by Shona Benson. In 1929, Ellen works as a maid in a posh London district. Asked to throw away some of sir’s evening wear, she discovers an opportunity to become ‘Bobby’: a perfect gentleman of her own creation.
Missing Alice by Jon Bradfield, as performed by Susie Penrice Tyrie. In 1957, Alice’s teenage pregnancy ruined her chances of ‘marrying well’. Michael is a very nice chap, but there’s a little something missing in her life.
And finally, I Miss the War by Matthew Baldwin, as performed by Sean Worrall. In 1967, we meet Jack, once a handsome young soldier who learned to supplemented his income through the generosity of older gentlemen. Today, homosexual acts are no longer a criminal offence. What will Jack do next?
Smart, funny, heartbreaking, and heartwarming, welcome a little hope this holiday seasons with Quees. Queers will be followed up by a second volume of works in early 2022, but for now, enjoy this first set of stories, as Pachyderm Theatre shows you that it gets better, with the belief that society will eventually learn to change their attitude towards the marginalised around us.
Queers plays from 3rd to 5th December 2021 at The Projector. Tickets available from Peatix