Above the Stag Theatre
Queereteria is a spectacular hot mess.
It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the only TV station is run by and stars Lady Domina Bizarre (played with professional pizazz by Matthew Baldwin).
She is holding Torsten – a former star and singer (played by Andy Bell of Erasure fame) hostage. From there the details become really hazy. Other characters include the boyfriend of Torsten played shambolically by Barney Ashton-Bullock (who also wrote the script). Their early life together is sometimes represented by two dancers Tom Mann and William Spencer who perform what I can only describe as interpretive dance in a space far too small for it to work. Finally, there is a character called Rupert (played by west end legend Peter Straker) who (either by direction or necessity) reads his lines off a clipboard.
The script itself is verbose and floral. Many sentences are so long and convoluted that when an actor finishes his lines and you have absolutely no memory as to what they are referring.
There are scatological references that neither shock or challenge and don’t even sit well with the action. Ashton-Bullock says in the programme notes “what is seen as trash can actually be an elevated counter culture ‘reading’ or reaction to ignorance and prejudice. These are admirable objectives but they are just not met by this piece.
The set (by David Shields) however is stunning; a detailed and evocative wasteland of defunct modern appliances like tv’s and fridges litter the floor, punctuated with Mitrix LED panels upon which gorgeous video content plays. A motorway off ramp leads performers on and off, and old school broadcast studio “recording” and “applause” signs hang from the ceiling.
Andy Bell’s voice is a delight as always, but his talent alone is not enough to save this show – the bomb has already been dropped.
http://www.abovethestag.com/vxl/whatson/torsten/ Until April 26th 2019
REVIEW: JONNY WARD