OutStagedUs

Reviewed by Jodie Crawford

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I was invited to review this “fearlessly bold celebratory night of theatre addressing and exploring issues of sexuality and gender identity.” But I certainly wasn’t expecting to laugh and cry as much as I did.

Hive North theatre company (formerly Hope Theatre Company) has selected eleven very different pieces written by various writers and performed by an exceptional cast.

All pieces are centred around issues of gender identity and sexuality. As I was leaving the auditorium I overheard someone say “there are so many voices that need to be heard” and that’s it – that’s the essence of this performance as a whole.

Within each piece there is a story that many can identify with. There is a struggle that so many people have faced and so many people continue to face. There are issues that I would never have considered that people are confronted with and grapple with daily. There is also great humour and real honesty.

I was incredibly moved by the first piece “Behind Enemy Lines” by Bobbie Warner; the honesty and raw emotion in the writing when exploring the issue of the loss of a pregnancy for a trans masculine person was so incredibly moving and thought provoking.

Spark by Caitlin Magnall-Kearns was an absolute highlight. It was so warm and fragile and the performances from Ralph Bogard and Sam Goodchild were heartlifting and heartbreaking all at the same time. I have never ever wanted two people to end up together more than I did these two!

There was also so much humour in so many of the pieces, even where the subject matter was serious and hard hitting.

The entire cast is to be congratulated on their performances – there was so much talent on stage and nowhere for anyone to hide in this intimate setting of the studio at the Lowry.

All eleven pieces were extraordinary – I feel like my perspective, my empathy, my understanding and my insight have all been changed for the better thanks to these very important pieces of theatre. I felt so incredibly proud of all the writers for sharing such insight into issues that we just don’t explore and discuss enough.

Hive North have done an incredible job of finding these writers and telling their stories. I left wanting to see more and more from these writers, these actors, these directors and these stories in all theatres across the country. I will 100% be back for more, but next time I will remember to pack my tissues!

OutStageUs is on at The Lowry until Thursday 29th September tickets available here.