Rob Madge’s one-person show has opened at London’s Turbine Theatre, directed by Luke Sheppard.
Readers may not initially be familiar with the name Rob Madge, but we’re sure you’ll have seen some of their videos – Rob’s been prolific on social media, particularly since the pandemic hit, sharing heartwarming childhood memories of staging full-blown Disney parades at home (predominantly for grandma’s enjoyment). My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?) is a 70-minute trip down memory lane, charting one queer kid’s journey through school to the stage, brought to life through Rob’s love of all things Disney.
It’s all just so charming and warm – the home videos are endlessly cute, illustrating the life of someone clearly born to perform. From the diva-esque demands of “film me!” to the amusingly-relentless rehearsal schedules, it’s a fascinating insight into Rob’s early life. We’re sure the stories will resonate with many members of the audience, particularly Disney fans. It’s worth noting that an expert Disney knowledge is not required to enjoy the show – all the references are pretty mainstream (think Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid).
The production elements are all delightfully lo-fi, mimicking the quality of the home videos. Whether it’s a slightly naff costume, deliberately underwhelming pyrotechnics or the low-budget audio/visual displays, the whole performance exudes a quirky ‘home made’ aesthetic which adds to the charm of the show. Set in a dated 1990s living room, each item of furniture reveals a hidden secret, whether a chair turns into a runway or a chest of drawers becomes a staircase.
There’s lots here to enjoy – including a number of Disney-inspired songs, some of which are poignant, others laugh-out-loud funny. The home videos are a real joy to watch and Rob’s presentation and narration of them works well – we weren’t quite sure how it would all fit together but we liked the format. Above all, though, it’s really heartwarming to see such a feel-good queer story presented authentically on the stage. Non-binary Rob clearly has such a supportive family, enabling them to be whoever they wanted to be, and it’s just so rare to see these stories told – an uplifting and life-affirming piece of theatre.
GAY TIMES gives My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?) – 4/5
More information can be found here.