SPOTLIGHT ON : Openings and closures, drag addiction and Eurovision

Brian Butler March 8, 2023

Open Handed Theatre Company is a Brighton-based collective, which brings Before The World Ends to FemFest 2023.

Writer/director Cerys Evans, creator of A Trans Fairy Tale, gives us a funny and thrilling new play, asking us what future do we want and why can’t we look at our present. Its themes are Covid, misinformation, ageism, domestic violence and Trans rights. It’s on for one night only – Thursday 9 March at 4, Prince’s Street Brighton.

Alan Turing – A Musical Biography – is currently playing at the King’s Head, Islington. To quote the Queer code-breaker: “ I’m an odd number in an even world”. The show unpacks the life of Turing through letters he wrote to his family, friends and colleagues. It highlights the injustice that gay men faced in the UK, after World War II. Many, like him, were subjected to chemical castration, which in his case led to suicide

Composer Joel Goodman says:” the secretive nature of Alan’s work and the fact that nobody knew about the role he played against Hitler, which brought the war to an early end and saved many lives, fascinates me”. It runs until 18 March. Tickets –

The King’s Head has also announced Sight Unseen – a season of work unpacking diversity and unheard voices, curated by Isabel Adomakoh Young as part of The Takeover- which will see four guest artistic directors who are all mid-career LGBTQ+ artists offer seasons. Season 1, from 27 March to 16 April, brings an eclectic range of shows to this Islington pub venue.

Five Years With The White Man is a true story about Black Briton ABC Merriman-Labour, an African satirist and writer. Mary Lacy Woz Queer explores another Queer historical figure – 18th century Deptford shipwright Mary Lacy. Auntie’s House tells the story of a middle-aged Muslim woman from 1950’s Notting Hill who opened a pop-up gay bar in her front room.

Perverts is Alice McKee’s witty one-woman show, where she faces her own internalised Lesbophobia, Queer shame, exes, and almost-threesomes in a sex club. Later in the season the iconic Queer Pan Asian company Bitten Peach bring their Drag King show, and Cow is a show about fatness, Transness, body hatred and the need for sex. Tickets for all shows at

Drag Addict is a musical  full of high stakes, high emotions and even higher heels. Written by Matt Cain and David Andrew Wilson, it’s a concept developed and choreographed by Olivier award winner Arlene Phillips. It’s Summer, it’s Manchester, it’s raining and on Canal Street Club Fierce is under threat. But Dolly Ravage, the godmother of the Gay village, isn’t going down without a fight.

To defeat the developers she enlists 6 Queens to relaunch the venue as The House of Ferocity. But a mysterious visitor could upend everything. Matt Cain says his work “ explores what it means to be Queer in our our modern digital world.” And Arlene said: “ When I moved from Manchester to London in the 1970’s many people found an escape in my dance classes from a society that still frowned upon their sexuality. It became a place where they were free to express themselves through dance in any way they wanted. It’s been my dream to create a musical that embraces my love of drag and the LGBTQ+ community”. It runs at Home, Manchester 16 July- 13 August. Tickets

It’s great news that the Queer theatre venue Above The Stag is back in business – for the moment in temporary premises. Based at new venue Wonderville, in London’s Haymarket, they present Eurovision – Your Decision, written and directed by the multi-talented Tim McArthur. It runs 29 April – 13 May. Join your hosts Katie and Demetrius as they introduce memorable hit songs, performed live from previous Eurovision contests. And it’s up to you who wins. Completely camp and absolutely bonkers. And you can watch this year’s contest live on 13 May.  Tickets –

And the company has announced their 2023 adult LGBTQ+ panto will be Puss In Boots – again at Wonderville from 4-31 December.

Acid’s Reign is a Queer climate cabaret heading to the Vault Festival in Waterloo. Award-winning drag artist, actor and activist Son of a Tutu plays Mother Nature, alongside drag icon Scarlett Harlett, Drag King Jamie Fuxx and Joshua Oakes-Rogers as the Queer business tycoon Alex Acid. It’s written by James McDermott and it plays at The Flair Ground from 14-19 March. Tickets – vault

It’s sad to report that the Vault Festival has lost tenure of its main venues after this festival – let’s hope it gets a new home. Also gone is Brighton’s Rialto Theatre – one of my favourite Fringe venues. It’s currently up for sale – again let’s hope for a continued future as a theatre venue.