Venus As A Boy, Traverse
A workshopped adaptation of Luke Sutherland’s book tells the story of a boy from Orkney whom circumstance propels towards a life as a male prostitute and semi-transexual in London. The brutally explicit narrative is excellently performed by Tam Dean Burn who succeeds in taking the audience on a journey into what would be the heart of darkness were it not for the central character, Cupid’s eternal optimism. In dealing with how the abused “normalise” their experiences this piece may not be to everyone’s tastes but the script is well paced between the sometimes horrific lows and the fleeting highs, the sparse set is well used to portray the bleak landscape of Orkney and the dingy brothels of Soho and the few props exploited imaginatively. Ultimately, though, the show stands or falls by Burn’s performance and the nuances he brings to his work. His skill means that the most reprehensible characters are portrayed to have some redeeming features and even Cupid himself is not portrayed in an entirely flattering light. The absence of clearly defined ‘good’ or ‘evil’ characters means that Venus As A Boy continues to resonate long after the last notes of the live musical accompaniment has faded.
NTW : The worth of the live musical accompaniment is questionable
JTD : The subtle and appropriate gestures used to denote the secondary characters paint them as instantly as a hundred costume changes would have.