PREVIEW: Queer cowboys, a Grindr musical, Eurovision and Miss Hope Springs

Brian Butler April 17, 2023

You wait forever for one show about queer cowboys, and then along come two. Not only that, there’s a musical about Grindr, the return of everybody’s favourite Jamie, and more of the faded star that never was Miss Hope Springs.

Mike Faist and Lucas Hedges make their West End debuts in the world premiere stage adaptation of Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain – a new play at Soho Place in London running from May 19 to August 12 written by Ashley Robinson, with songs by Dan Gillespie Sells performed by Eddie Reader (ex-Fairground Attraction). Gillespie is best known for his songs for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Mike Faist starred in Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway and in the latest film version of West Side StoryLucas Hedges was Oscar nominated for his role in Manchester by the Sea.

It’s Wyoming, 1963, where people live in rural poverty and in tight insular communities. When Ernie and Jack take jobs on the isolated Brokeback Mountain they find an irresistible and hidden love spanning 20 years and with tragic consequences. Tickets HERE

The next season at London’s King’s Head is guest curated by Tom Ratcliffe and runs April 19 to May 14, under the banner A Queer InterrogationBarry McStay’s Breeding is a moving drama about two gay parents adopting a child. Playing alongside it is That’s Ace, a story about asexuality and the difference between platonic and romantic love. The play Rapture uses verbatim recordings to explore polyamory and queer identities and Rotting Hart explores the history of homophobia in Spain. Self-Tape is a narrative that oscillates between a jobbing actor and his online sex shows for clients.

Tangerines looks at what would happen if Princess Charlotte was gay and God Save The Kink is a cabaret about BDSM and fetishes. Finally drag queen Rosacea Blemish brings us Will It Actually Ever Happen? – a camp murder mystery set in a drag contest. Tickets for the season HERE 

The award-winning Grindr: The Opera returns for a new production at the Union Theatre, London from May 25 to July 8. It has musical styles ranging from Baroque to pop, and it has book, music and lyrics by Erik Ransom. It’s a daring, humorous look at the changing landscape of gay relationships and that great catalyst, the dating app Grindr. Its MD is the highly talented Aaron Clingham. Originally staged at Above The Stag, its original cast recording is on iTunes, Amazon Music and Apple Music. Tickets HERE

Eurovision comes to Brighton again – in a manner of speaking. Join your hosts the hilarious Katie and Demetrius as they introduce hit songs from past Eurovision contests live on stage. Eurovision (Your Decision) lets the audience vote each night for their favourite song. Written and directed by the multi-talented Tim McArthur, and staged by Above The Stag, it’s at the Ironworks Studios on May 10 and May 11. Tickets HERE 

Hope Springs

Singer/songwriter Ty Jeffries brings us his fabulous failure of a cabaret star Miss Hope Springs for another outing. She’s at Wiltons Music Hall, London on May 19 and May 20 and at the Crazy Coqs, London, on April 28 and June 22. You’ll be sorry you missed it – and so will she. Info HERE


If Brokeback didn’t satiate you, the Royal Shakespeare Company is the venue for Cowbois, from October 14 to November 18 at the Swan Theatre, Stratford -upon-Avon. Written by Charlie Josephine, it proclaims: “No more petticoats, no more men!”. In a sleepy Wild West town the women drift through their days like tumbleweed. Their husbands, swept up in the gold rush, have been gone for almost a year. Then handsome bandit Jack Cannon swaggers into town hiding from bounty hunters.

Armed with whisky and a wink, and a gun by their side, Jack inspires a gender revolution. This rollicking queer cowboy story is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Tickets HERE 

The inspiring musical about the 16-year-old schoolboy who would be a drag queen, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, returns to the Theatre Royal, Brighton from October 31 to November 11. This time it stars Ivano Turco, Rebecca McKinnie, Shobna Gulati and John Partridge as Hugo/Loco Chanelle. I can vouch that Turco wowed audiences in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s short-lived but highly enjoyable Cinderella, and he’s also the winner of the Black British Theatre Award for Best Male Actor in a Musical. Tickets HERE

F**king Men

And finally the cast has been announced for the provocative queer sex odyssey F**king Men, which runs April 20 to June 18 at Waterloo East Theatre in London. Based on the classic play La Ronde, Tony award-winning Joe DiPietro gives us a queer take on this provocation story of sex, love and connection.

It stars Alex Britt (Dumbledore Is So Gay), Charlie Condou (Rocky Horror Show on tour, and Marcus in Coronation Street), Derek Mitchell (from TV’s Ted Lasso, and half of comedy duo Horseplay), and Stanton Plummer-Cambridge (TV’s Black Earth Rising and The Durrells). Tickets HERE