written and performed by
Michael Twaitss one-man show which first appeared at the Oval House Theatre in 2007 and has now come to the Trafalgar Studios as part of the London Pride festival is a meditation on being gay.
Or, at least, that is what it starts out as. Instead, the real point of the show is that we are all many different things.
Yes, Twaits may be gay, but he is not simply a gay, and the show is not predominantly about Michael, the homosexual, but about Michael, the person.
Over the course of the 70-minute play Twaits explores the various facets of his being bynarrating several days in his life. He cruises Soho on Friday night, brunches with girl friendson Saturday, spends time with his mother in Bognor Regis on Sunday, and returns to workon Monday for another boring day in the office. He uses a variety of genres to explore hispoints, including disco and cabaret acts, a formal lecture setting, and video installations thatflash up news of gay hate crimes or landmark legislation.
Not that any of this would be obvious from the opening act. Twaits bursts on in full dragsinging Holding out for a hero, and proceeds to clamber over audience members, hand outPinkys vodka to everyone, and lead the entire audience in the drinking game, I have never.All this is tremendous fun, but I was left wondering if I could face an entire show maintainedat this frenetic pace.
But I didnt have to. As Twaits then makes clear, his Lady M persona is just an act, justone small part of him, and the rest of the show examines what else there is to the man. Welearn that he can be deemed offensive when really he is just encouraging people to think;we see him questioning whether liberty for homosexuals has been achieved when gay hatemurders still occur, and asking whether every new freedom granted for gays really giveshim greater privileges or simply controls him more.
Very cleverly, Twaits employs a variety of genres in which to explore his points. Heperforms He had it coming from Chicago to present the homophobic stances ofpeople in our present day Cabinet, and to describe his experience with someone who calledhim a faggot. A deeply serious scene sees him writhing about the stage dousing himselfwith water, as he tries to come to terms with how a boyfriend who wanted to spend the restof his life with him can suddenly declare I dont want to be with you anymore.
In spite of all this, the play does not always hit the mark. This is partly because itsuniversal message that we are all many things becomes lost as it focuses so much onjust one man. Of course, this is Twaitss method for making a wider point, but the resultsometimes feels overindulgent and does not make it easy for the audience to feel that theshow is in any way about them as well. It is also because, while the play does cover manybases concerning Twaitss life, it does not take us to any areas that we couldnt perhapspredict, once we have grasped its general argument. In addition, as Twaits runs through hisweekend to show the different facets of his life, in spite of his amusing interaction with theaudience, it all feels descriptive rather than analytical.
Nevertheless, as Twaits finally dons a blond wig and frilly black frock to sing and recite a poem he wrote, it remains hard not to be moved by this show, which has a great numberof merits.