Full Disclosure Theatre return to the Southwark Playhouse for another of their Xposed nights, a showcase of short plays from emerging writers which explore LGBTQ+ issues. These nights have become an important fixture in the London theatre calendar, not least because they bring much needed exposure to writers, performers and creatives.
The tone for the whole night was perhaps set by Freya Jackson’s The Gay Agenda, which saw three individuals from across the LGBTQ community come together to discuss the gay agenda for the future. It quite subtlety, and often comically, highlighted that although there are many differing experiences amongst the community, there is often a shared feeling of exclusion. Directed by Paul Anthoney, The Gay Agenda was the ideal pick for the opening play, with a superb performance from Russell Anthony.
Two-hander How We Love, written by Annette Brook and directed by Robbie Taylor Hunt had an interesting plot which sees two friends plan out an imagined life to fool the Nigerian authorities in to believing they are married. While there were a few too many twists and turns for a short play, it certainly has potential as a concept.
Possibly the shortest of the eight plays was Ron Burch’s Romeo and Jules, directed by Timothy Allsop. While there have been many gay versions of Romeo and Juliet, this one stood out for its comic genius, and outstanding performances from Ben Carter James and Jamie Foulkes. Witty and very cleverly written, the story managed to surprise and delight leaving the audience wishing for a longer piece.
The first act closed with Collette Cullen’s Family Tree directed by Lizzie Fitzpatrick. Fleur de Wit and Jennifer Oliver play Rachel and Fiona, who are trying to decide who to ask to be a sperm donor using a giant tub of Quality Street. It succeeded in being both funny and thought provoking, leaving us to wonder which of the potential donors we would choose, however futile the decision making process may turn out to be.
Oh! You Pretty Things directed by Alex Howarth veered away from the comedy that was so prevalent in the first act, but struggled to really get to grips with its own themes. Writer, Rachel Harper teases the audience to the point of frustration with a play which should have had plenty to say, but ultimately left too much unsaid.
Brigitte Adela directs Stella Ajayi’s Virtue which delved in to the topic of religion, and what it means to be Queer, Black and Christian. Honey Gabriel and Ewa Dina gave in depth performances and this is the second piece of the night which would benefit from a longer iteration.
The only monologue of the night came next, and this penultimate piece was by far the strongest in terms of both writing from David Hendon and performance from Dominic Jones. Dealing with a 21-year old coming to terms with his sexuality and body image, Skin(ny) was an engaging and deeply moving piece of drama, which held the audience transfixed.
The evening came to a close with She’s Fit, Just Kiss Her by Jessica Revell and directed by Pollyanna Newcombe. Wildly funny in places, it captured the awkwardness of a one-night stand perfectly, and the strong performances from Rosie-Lea Sparkle and Georgina Armfield meant Xposed finished on a high.
This Xposed saw more performers taking to the stage, and the evening felt richer for it. The plays varied in their ability to captivate the audience, but each brought something special to the evening, and Full Disclosure’s determination to provide audience feedback provides an invaluable resource to all the hard-working cast and creatives involved.