Oh Gay Theatre, I try to support you, I do, and this is what I get in return. This'll be a quick review 'cause I don't need to waste any more time on this play than I have already. Grant Corr's Rip Her to Shreds is the story of a boy growing up gender-confused in 1980s Northern Ireland, and is exactly the same as dozens of other plays on the same subject. You know that "stare into middle-distance, speak slightly dreamily" thing you get from the leads in these sorts of plays? Yeah, Tom Read Wilson opens with one of those, and it turns out that's how he's going to deliver every single line. D wants to be Debbie Harry, a fact which his family either indulgently ignore, or scream hellfire at him about, depending on the scene. His boyfriend (Rowan Finnegan) has a similarly eclectic collection of personalities depending on what the plot requires. At one point D is gang-raped, which has no apparent effect on him subsequently. The highlight is a confrontation with D's family, all of whom are looking angrily in different directions at the audience, which I thought was meant to be a dream sequence, turned out not to be, and which transformed the poor actors instantly into Legz Akimbo Theatre Company. Once I'd made that connection it was very hard not to giggle, which was unfortunate as one of the actors was delivering his lines straight at me.
However I am capable of seeing the rose in among the thorns, and the one piece of inspired creativity comes from set designer Christopher Hone: The walls are covered with Blondie posters, the centrepiece of which is the Autoamerican cover, out of which a low wall stretches out of the poster and onto the stage, very nicely done on what must have been a negligible budget.
Rip Her to Shreds by Grant Corr is booking until the 3rd of April at the Old Red Lion Theatre.
(Someone involved in this is so going to google themselves and scream at me, aren't they?)