Rife with salacious imagery, unexpected nudity, and no small measure of phallic allusions, Queer Revue 2022 explores identity, community, and belonging through a raunchy and hilarious retelling of the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. On a quest to pull the fabled sword ‘Sexcalibur’ from the stone, Hannah Mackay’s King Arthur meets the sultry sorceress Merlin and learns the lessons of responsibility and duty, earning the right to Sexcalibur (albeit possessing an underwhelming length) and discovering the value of friendship.
The principal storyline was not without a catchy tune or two, with classics such as Cindy Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’, Air Supply’s ‘I’m All Out of Love’, and Kenny Loggins’ ‘Footloose’ hilariously rewritten to drive the plot forward in a lighthearted way.
Speaking of musical numbers, Queer Revue 2022 was filled with other clever renditions of popular songs which left the audience in fits of laughter and appreciation of the writers’ wit. Notably, a forbidden romance between leafy greens spinach and rocket was told in the hilarious love ballad “I’m a Rocket, Man” ( a spin on the Elton John classic).
Queer Revue 2022 featured some truly outstanding sketches, writing, acting, score, and choreography. Some notable mentions include skits about a pair of testes and their journey towards self-acceptance and body positivity, a ballad about one woman’s desire for a gay best friend, and a feature about actively transphobic board games, like Monopoly – “you do not pass, go”.
The audience saw troubled family dynamics and verbal misunderstandings play out in a sketch titled ‘Good Cop, Dad Cop’. Josh Mortimer shines as a confused detective employing unorthodox interrogation tactics involving bad jokes and an awkward sex talk.
Perhaps the most well-received sketch of the evening involved Sophie Kuijper’s performance as a circus clown in an OB-GYN’s office. “Ok, first let’s remove your tampon” the gyno announces, before pulling out an endless colourful handkerchief to raucous laughter from the audience.
In speaking with some crew members from the creative team, it becomes apparent that this year’s Queer Revue was no easy feat. Riss Li and Lorenzo Aggio from the stage management team detail their experience in coordinating such a spectacle of theatre.
“Shows like this have lots of moving parts, so we need to have people coming on and off the stage at the right time, props need to be reshuffled correctly and everyone needs to know their cues,” Li explains.
Aggio elaborates, “In the queer theatre community, it’s all or nothing. You either love the people you work with, or you absolutely hate them. I can safely say I’ve loved every second of working with this incredibly talented cast this year”.
This year’s directing team, consisting of Queer Revue veterans Caitriona Lunn, Josephine Massingham and Peter Mackenzie-Hutton, summarise the theme of the is year’s show as ‘community’.
“It’s important that we are able to find a sense of belonging in a loving and supportive community” says Lunn, “That’s what this year’s Revue was all about”.
Mackenzie-Hutton echoes this: “This year we wanted to focus on this idea of taking responsibility within your community. We wanted to move away from that familiar storyline of ‘found family’ and towards something more self-driven”.
Josephine shares a personal anecdote of the importance of Queer Revue and the sense of belonging it brings., “For myself, I came out and began transitioning during a Queer Revue [show], and I’m not the only one who has a story similar to that. So when we say creating and nurturing that community was at the forefront of our minds, that’s why”.
Queer Revue 2022 plays to a sold out Reginald Theatre for the next two nights, closing on the 14th of May. It is tradition that the Queer Revue directing team consists of cast members from the previous year. If this continues to be observed, it is safe to say that Queer Revue 2023 is in good hands with a cohort of vibrant, talented and passionate students.