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Queer Counsel review at Warehouse Theatre Croydon

Nick Bamford’s timely new play has everything – tragedy and torment, love, lust and longing. Based on a true story, it explores both gay and family relationships. John is a fundamentalist Christian counsellor, who tries to encourage young men to fight and reject their homosexuality by turning to God. He and his wife Mary are forced to examine their prejudices and deep-seated resentments after Matthew, their own gay son, commits suicide and Gary, the lover who rejected him, turns up to confront them. No one escapes the fallout.

Queer Counsel is thoughtfully written and though it does not flinch from tackling its subject head on, it is told with warmth and a considerable amount of humour. The characters are finely wrought, their dialogue convincing and made more so by an excellent cast. Laurence Saunders is spot on as the aggressive and guilt-ridden Gary. He collides with Tim Charrington’s scarily realistic John, a fearful bigot, but finds an ally in Mary, played in a beautifully restrained manner by Alison Belbin. Darren Cheek is credible both as Matthew and his brother Luke.

These characters are well supported by Richard Sandells’ nicely understated David, an older man in love with Gary, William Gregory’s Daniel, a young boy just coming to terms with his sexuality and Trevor, a waspish old queen who runs the local pub, made most loveable by Richard Curnow.

It would be nice to think that in real life, this scenario would have such a clear cut resolution but this is an absorbing play with an ultimately moving and uplifting finale.

Production Information

Warehouse Theatre, Croydon, April 16-May 9, then touring

Author
Nick Bamford
Director
Rob Swinton
Producer
FOD Productions
Cast includes
Laurence Saunders, Tim Charrington, Alison Belbin, Darren Cheek
Running time
1hr 50mins
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