March 15 – Beautiful Thing
Beautiful Thing is back, back, BACK!
I was so young when I first happened across Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing that I don’t care to remember the details.
But then, this would be a mercifully short editor’s letter, so remember it I will.
Picture it! Edinburgh, 1996. My first ex-boyfriend bought me a copy of the film on VHS for my birthday – it was a Virgin Megastore exclusive at the time and, given that I worked a few doors down as video buyer for their competitor HMV, I was blissfully unaware of it or the stage play it was based on.
I immediately fell in love.
I made my soon-to-be second boyfriend watch it, in the hope it would help him come to terms with his sexuality – he’s since been married and divorced to and from another gentleman of the same persuasion, so I think we aced that one. I bought the soundtrack. “Why do you want that?” my boss asked. “The Mamas and the Papas greatest hits is much better value.” But I wanted anything to do with Jamie and Ste. I think I even bought the script book. I finally felt I had a voice, that there were other young (as I was then...) people like me. I tried, and failed, for years to find anything that might be like it. Get Real, anyone?
I couldn’t possibly have foreseen the path Beautiful Thing would take me on and I’m genuinely delighted that Gay Times – the very same magazine as stolen by Jamie – is a media partner for the 2015 UK tour of this groundbreaking play. The production, as seen in London’s West End in 2013 and soon to return to the Arts Theatre there, is as wonderful and moving as ever. I hope the tour not only entertains but educates and enlightens many people, as that first experience did for me oh so many years ago...