Bringing to the fore the voices of non-binary and female-identifying artists and performers, 45North has speedily found strong footing and embraced their creative potential since their foray into audio plays at the dawn of our first lockdown. Centring queer stories with an urgent candor and reflexivity, 45North’s Written on the Waves audio play series now presents Tabby Lamb’s Darling as their latest, fortnightly instalment.
Hailing from East London, Lamb is a non-binary writer and performer who adroitly exposes the ideological ‘messiness’ of queer revolution and resistance through the story of Peter Pan, or rather, through the stories of Neverland and the ‘real world’ beyond just Peter.
Darling complicates the tenets of adulthood—its notions of isolation, introspection, found family, and more—through a queer lens. Darling is both nostalgic for the anarchy, nonchalance, and pride of early queer activism, while critical of the current changes in its orchestration, doctrine, and mission as it is appropriated into the mainstream by the societies that have for so long admonished and persecuted queer people.
Perfectly cast, legendary avante-garde performance artist David Hoyle embodies the trailblazing, yet transitory queer spirit, with the usual invested social commentary that often accompanies Hoyle’s work, yet also with a calm and contemplative tone—one gained by both the lived experience of being queer and of performing for queer people. Hoyle is as engaging as ever, dropping the illusion of the curtain and simply speaking rawly and honestly to our hearts. As our characters come of age, so do we sober to the current state of our world, where commodification still precludes activism or action, where not even subcultural communities are led by those they aim to protect.
Captivating from beginning to end, from its message to its performance, Darling tactfully examines the contemporary anxieties that define our zeitgeist; those confusions between image vs action, commerce vs community, and reality vs fantasy. Ultimately, Lamb and Hoyle remind us that queerness must remain singular yet communal, and perceptive yet thunderous if we are to protect all those whom compose the queer community.