You know how some monologues are so intimate and serious, they seem like they came straight from a church confession booth? Well. The newest production from “Pink Milk Theatre” is a kind of confession but it comes from some kind of riotous church where RuPaul is the reverend, and the main person talking is a teenage gay, discovering his sexuality. Now how does this sound for an idea for a theatre evening out? I will tell you – it sounds glorious.
Meet Andrew, the narrator. He opens his story with an attention-grabbing description of his first “gay” orgasm, compared to a shooting star. He just confirmed that he is – in fact -gay, and has to get a grip on his new life. He’s 16 and despite minor confidence in this new out-of-the-closet self, he soon finds a boyfriend (yay!). But how do you learn how to “be” or “live as gay”, if the only queer people around you are your boyfriend and your drama school teacher? Especially if the teacher seems to initially provide a cushion of support, but at times, pushes the customary limits of what a teacher is supposed to say to a student…
Andrew Houghton, who wrote the play and also stars in it, made a sound decision to narrate the story from a perspective of an older, more mature self. This way, besides quickly flowing conversations, we get a set of off-script comments, from the point of view of the future, adult Andrew. It adds a certain perspective and energy to the show – also, I just don’t think I would be able to listen to a teenage narrator for the whole show (lots of cringe potential, what to do!). Houghton has a delicate, slightly shy stage presence, that matches the play’s vulnerable core perfectly.
The action jumps on a timeline of Andrew’s teenage life, through locations and personas. This multi-role concept has its staging benefits but also is quite tricky to execute. Houghton impersonate multiple characters, like their mom, boyfriend, and teachers. They use a set of voices to clearly differentiate who we’re dealing with in each scene, however, I wished they got some more support from the lights design or maybe some tiny props, just to make a clearer differentiation of “who’s who” in the scene.
The Pink Milk Theatre already established their strong presence on the LGBTQ+ theatre scene with their previous show “A Splash of Milk”, and now are expanding their set of impactful, underrepresented real stories. “Naughty” delivers a subtle yet sincere set of emotions. It’s a brave production that sheds light on a topic that usually just doesn’t get talked about, and makes a strong point at the end. So take a friend or a partner to see this show and I guarantee it will direct your post-show discussion into a completely new, unexpectedly vulnerable direction.
“Naughty” by Pink Milk Theatre
Tuesday 27th September – Sunday 2nd October, Hen and Chickens Theatre
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