Camp - Review
Updated: Sep 28, 2019
Turning the idea of gay conversion camps on its head Camp is set in an LGBT+ camp where people learn about identities, hook up culture, queer history with the aim of leaving with their own gay card to unlock privileges around the world. Rather than queer identities being shameful and something to be changed it’s something to be celebrated. We follow Becky, Mary and Felix as they learn about each others pasts, their individual identities and how to vogue.
As much as the show talks about debunking stereotypes it’s interesting that it has its main characters play into those same stereotypes. Not that the show suffers for it but finding humour in the stereotypes it wants to debunk is probably not it’s aim.
The show has a witty script and the actors and direction keep it tight, with great comedy timing from the cast. The show at times feels like it’s there to educate as much as to entertain and it manages to be thought provoking without falling into the trap of being preachy. This is especially apparent in discussions around bi-identity which is a focus throughout the performance. Outside of this there are some interesting facts thrown in about gay history, most prominently through an audience quiz (if you don’t like audience participation avoid the front row) and the camp attendees lessons.
The cast are good in these roles and play these characters well. In particular Nicholas Marrast-Lewis as the camp Felix brings an unexpected tenderness to the character. It was shame it was only an hour as we would have liked to know more about each of the characters. There was a specific part of Felix’s story which felt like it hadn’t been addressed and we would have liked to have seen where this goes.
One thing the director needs to be aware of is the sight lines of the theatre. The space is all on one level and they had a full house (which is great) meaning when the cast were sat down, which happens a lot, they were blocked from view for a large portion of the audience.
It was certainly a fun show with plenty of laughs while trying to explore bi-sexual identities and how both the gay community and wider society view these identities. It raises questions around the difficulties bi-sexual people face when society struggles to grasp the non-binary identity. It is surprisingly thought-provoking leaving you with plenty to discuss in the pub downstairs. We give this three Laura Michelle-Kelly stars.
You need to be quick to catch this as it only has two more current shows being August 22nd and 24th at 7pm at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre. Tickets are available here: https://www.thelionandunicorntheatre.com/whats-on#/event/camp-camden-fringe-1