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Boy Stroke Girl review at the Warren, Brighton – ‘brash and awkward’

Scene from Boy Stroke Girl at the Warren, Brighton. Scene from Boy Stroke Girl at the Warren, Brighton.
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Peter willingly does not know the gender of his partner. After meeting in a cafe, he and the mysterious Blue hit it off over a mutual love of Doctor Who. But an intriguing central conceit can’t save this clunky play by Ian Dixon Potter.

Boy Stroke Girl flounders more than it flows, with big chunks of awkward, proselytising dialogue about how we should all accept each other for who we are – as if we’re not watching this in one of the only cities in the country where it’s perfectly normal to see someone walking down the street dressed as an owl.

It’s not only the stumbles and fluffs – one or two too many – but it’s the rhythm too. Mostly it trundles along quietly, vaguely interestingly, sometimes enjoyably. Then a scene will escalate unaccountably into a shouting match, and simmer down again just as quickly.

And for a play that warns its audience not to apply labels too rashly, it paints a few of its characters as pretty brash stereotypes.

There’s not enough here to sustain it for an hour, and there well could be. A relationship between a man and someone non gender-specific is really interesting. The play keeps telling us to get to know people for who they really are, but we can’t: the characters and script are all surface and very little depth.

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Intriguing central idea – but it can’t save a clunky script