Flawed____like a b_

Flawed____like a b_
Written by BJ McNeill. Devised by Claudia Subiela Ferre, BJ McNeill, Sven Ironside & Gabriella Schmidt. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton. 23 – 27 January, 2019.

This biographical piece is based on the experiences of growing up in Australia and identifying as gay. Much like the content that is discussed in this play the imagery of Flawed is daring and frequently confronting. The performance involves a combination of dance, stylised movement and a monologue delivered predominantly by McNeill.

The gender bending costume design draws inspiration from figures such as Marilyn Manson and Dr. Frank N. Furter (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), while the choreography has much in common with Beyoncé. The highly sexualised nature of the content is often very entertaining and visually striking but not always clearly defined in its purpose.

The rawness of the delivery indicates how personal this material is for NcNeill whose account includes a graphic recollection of being sexually assaulted. While the questioning of traditional gender roles and the attack on toxic masculinity may not appear to be making particularly novel assertions, the timing of this play is a considerable part of its urgency.

The text focuses on the narrow-minded nature of Australian society that continues to struggle with queer identity despite the progress made with marriage equality. It directly criticises a tendency to accept alternative sexualities as long as they are rendered invisible through mainstreaming. McNeill’s incisive and poetic show rightfully points out the damage and the dangers that are, sadly, still involved in overtly expressing queer identity.

Patricia Di Risio

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.