Musicals are pretty gay…am I right…now hear me out. There is nothing we queer folk like more than a song dance. Musicals tick all the boxes...they’re campy, over the top, way to dramatic that they boarder on outlandish, the costumes are spectacular, diva’s are plenty, everyone’s singing their innermost thoughts, throw in some jazz hands and a well choreographed number and call it my life! In all seriousness though, performing arts is where I found my home, a place where I could be me. It’s also here that I would meet all the other outcasts and misfits who would become my kindred spirits.
No matter how loyal I was to the art though, I never saw myself reflected back from the Broadway stage. Don’t get me wrong ‘we’ were always visible, but the narrative has always been very hetronormative. You know the story boy – meets - girl, there’s some sort of conflict…they spend hours singing about it and then the finale number is how their love transcends all. Leaving us queer characters waiting in the wings, always the bride’s maid (or sassy hairdresser, spinster aunt or the uncle that we only whisper about at gatherings) but never the bride.
Tonight Little Triangle set out to change that narrative by treating us to a magical evening of musical theatre. Through the works of renowned gay Composer and lyricist Stephan Sandheim, this magnificent cast set out to create an evening of song that would inspire, uplift and empower queer people. Wishing to step away from the history of conflict, struggle and injustice, director Alexander Andrews (He/Him) (and co – founder of Little Triangle) wanted to showcase a side so rarely seen. Featuring a collection of cut numbers, rarely performed works and beloved classics, Sandheim’s body of work in the hands of Andrew’s, becomes a love letter to queer people.
The stage was quite minimalistic; the word QUEER in bold letters was erected like the Hollywood sign. In the forefront were two three -seater old leather theatre chairs, which the performers used to convey emotions through the stature of their characters. The show begins in the golden age of musical comedies and as 10 queer characters take the stage, they lead us on a journey of happy beginnings and painful goodbyes – through first dates and final chapters, blossoming romances and old relationships.
The show is sung from start to finish, Andrew’s has methodically thought out this structure because the execution is impeccable. The transition between songs and Interweaving of the cast’s vocals is effortless. Andrew’s gives all his players the chance to shine but also to be a supportive chorus.
There were a few members however that did personally stand out to me Marissa Saroca (She/they) and Addy Robertson (She/They) first with their sultry take on “ Bang” from A little Night music was like watching an orgasmic tango as each tried to push the other one over the edge to see who would lyrically climax first. Not be out done by their slightly less raunchy heartfelt take on “ Unworthy of your love” from Assassin’s. The two have a very convincing chemistry and a clear comfort with each other; this was a fun, flirty and at times downright daggy (Think if Kath and Kel Knight were wooing each other through song and dance). My smile only grew grander with this number. The other standout number for me and a personal favorite song , was Jack Francis West’s ( They/Them) rendition of ‘More’ made famous by Madonna in Dick Tracy. West truly had his own diva moment for this one, making the reluctant cast his backup dancers; it was hilarious (The throw in of a Kristen Wigg moment was also not lost on me but fully embraced). Phoebe Clark’s (She/Her) solo’s were full of heart, longing and despair. Her Rendition of ‘Multitudes of Amy’ from Company was a perfect depiction of that moment when the realization finally hits you and you understand what all those feelings contained inside you are about, and it was heartbreaking to watch.
Its been said that we read ourselves into the art of the experience, as an audience member that is our journey. For so long Queer audiences have been “open “ to interpretation, forever reading between the lines for subtext, but thanks to Alexander Andrew’s and Little Triangle we no longer need too. I feel like productions like this show that we are at a point in time where gender and sexual orientation do not define the course of a story, it can just be told and all can relate and I guess what better way to start the conversation off then by the most universal subject of LOVE.
I give “Isn’t it Queer” a five out of five it was such an enjoyable romp that at one moment I stopped and realised that I had been smiling the whole entire time. This was my first time attending a Little Triangle production and can’t say enough great things about the exceptional cast, talented musicians and of course smart direction. I don’t what they have next installed but I wait with great anticipation…independent theatre is alive and thriving.