More often than not queer stories are being told to open up the conversation around gender identity, homophobia, and exclusive environments. Same, Same, But Different does exactly what it says on the tin – it does things differently.
As part of this year’s Clapham Fringe, Unnamed Friend Productions are debuting their show Same, Same, But Different at The Bread & Roses Theatre. Effortlessly and simply, director Toni Roberts tells Cam’s (Megs Kumari) and Jesse’s (Em Thane) love story as they invite the audience to be part of an intimate performance. Staged almost entirely in the couple's bedroom – with a king-size bed being the centrepiece of the stage – the audience is allowed insight into the couples’ most vulnerable moments as their affection for each other grows.
As many love stories go, it was love at first sight when Cam and Jesse met at a friend’s party. Snappy time jumps transport us from one pivotal moment in the relationship to another. The actors transition seamlessly from one scenario to the next and keep us on their toes as they face the everyday struggles of a relationship. Same, Same, But Different follows the couples’ story for the next ten years in which the audience gets an up-close depiction of their ups and downs. Kumari’s and Thane’s chemistry makes for an engaging performance and it is hard to resist the urge to be wholeheartedly invested in their characters’ love story. Moments of anger and arguments sting and make every kiss between the two characters seem so much sweeter.
Cam’s and Jesse’s life story is partially narrated by voice actors who present essential people in their lives – friends, family, and even estranged family. The voices guide us through the narrative as the audience is introduced to both sides of the story and becomes all-knowing. And although not every voice from the off feels like it adds value to the story, it does create a three-dimensional portrayal of the life that Cam and Jesse are building together and the obstacles that they are facing outside their bedroom.
Same, Same, But Different is a wholesome and genuinely compassionate portrayal of a modern, queer family, that leaves the audience with a smile on their face – and Kumari, Thane and Roberts with a standing ovation.
Review: Shirley Both