A snappy bass riff resonates through the darkened seats of the Seymour Centre as shadowy figures scurry into position. Light hits the stage and the cast of Queer Revue 2023 burst into a rendition of ‘Do It All The Time’ by I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, the chorus lyrics replaced by the show’s title and a call to action for us in the audience: to “be gay and do crime.” In a matter of seconds, the show is in full swing and the energy is buzzing.
“Been Gay, Done Crime” is a perfect mixture of absurd and harrowing. Blending comedic and moralistic tones, it pokes fun at the trope of the queer-coded villain, the show also embraces the flamboyance of the post Hays Code-era typecast and contributes to a larger reclamation and celebration of the once derogatory stereotype.
Directors Amy Warner, Taylor Fair, and Alyssa Meli ingeniously intertwine smaller comedic and musical sketches around a main storyline that captures hearts, as four villains find companionship, love, and pride within each other.
As the last remaining undefeated superhero, Captain Might (William Darby) juggles his two arch-nemeses, Destroyer and Terminator (Ewan Cooper-Frater and William Winter), as well as his growing attraction towards villainy, and towards a certain Dr Xperiment (Zack Alloggia). Bringing the audience along on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance.
A particularly touching moment for Captain Might is when, amidst a mashup of Taylor Swift’s ‘Anti-Hero’ and ‘How Bad Can I Be?’ from the Lorax movie soundtrack, he exclaims “fuck binaries of good and bad, now I can see it queerer!”
Throughout the second act, this defiant energy builds to a climactic celebration of pride and queer joy in the final musical number, a choreographed parody of Miley Cyrus’ ‘Party in the USA’ that had the entire audience clapping along.
Other highlights of the show include the 9-piece band, who — thanks to band directors Evalyn Sharpham and Margot Roberts — never failed in their comedic timing, least of all during their 30-second skit in which they ran onto the stage just in time to shout “Tequila!” and then returned to their seats upstairs.
Renditions of the Kahoot background music and, on multiple occasions, Daft Punk’s ‘Robot Rock’, among many others, kept the momentum building steadily throughout the revue.
“Been Gay, Done Crime” asks a simple question: What if the queer villains emerged triumphant? And the response plays out in a show that is undeniably and contagiously fun.
Queer Revue will grace the Seymour Centre until Saturday 27 April.