dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Summer in London review at Theatre Royal Stratford East, London – ‘unabashedly heartfelt’

Tyler Luke Cunningham and Kamari Ryoko in Summer in London at Theatre Royal Stratford East, London Tyler Luke Cunningham and Kamari Romeo in Summer in London at Theatre Royal Stratford East, London
by -

Writer and director Rikki Beadle-Blair has put sexuality, gender and diversity at the heart of his work from early in his career. Now, he’s debuting his new play, Summer in London, with an all-trans cast.

In a heatwave-struck London, four homeless lads each go on a date with Summer, newly arrived from the Philippines. Meanwhile, Summer’s mentor, Joan, tries to help sandwich-seller Justine feel comfortable with herself. There’s banter, bluster and heartbreak.

Designer Tom Paris’ huge, George Melies-style inflatable moon, which hangs over the too-green grass of his perspective-distorting set, adds to the Fairytale of London feel of Beadle-Blair’s production. It’s a warm, open-handed comedy about acceptance and self-discovery.

The word trans is never used, but knowledge of the casting adds another layer to the play’s heartfelt exploration of identity, sexuality and the pain of overcoming the past. You can read as much or as little of it into the production as you want. The play stands on its own.

A big part of this show’s appeal is its cast, who sweep you up and carry you along with their charm. From Victoria Gigante’s effervescent, bluntly insightful Summer, to Ash Palmisciano’s bruised cheekiness as Jack, being in their company is a pleasure.

Like life itself, Beadle-Blair’s writing sprawls between cringeworthy and poetically sublime in a beat. The whimsical handling of homelessness is jarring. But this funny, romantic, optimistic play will still bring on the tears. It’s easy to fall in love with Summer in London.

 

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Verdict
Unabashedly heartfelt new romantic comedy about self-discovery, with an all-trans cast
^