When you’re in Year 7 and a Harry Potter supernerd, life probably isn’t going to be easy. To make matters worse when you’ve been officially sorted into Hufflepuff and your patronus is nothing more imposing than a hedgehog then things are going to be extra tough. Added to which if you’re developing feelings for your best friend and can’t talk about it to anyone you’re probably going to wish for a bit of magic to help sort it all out. This is the position in which young Jack finds himself as, like his illustrious hero, he tries to navigate his way through his teenage years to come to a better understanding of himself and his world. And with the help of a time-turner, Jack has the chance to put things right - though whether the world will actually let him remain to be seen.


Dumbledore Is So Gay returns to London for the third time having been seen initially at the Vaults Festival and then at the Pleasance. Although there are prominent disclaimers about the piece having nothing to do with J.K. Rowling’s world a little knowledge of this wouldn’t go amiss. But mostly it is its own beast – and a pretty fantastic one at that. This is a sparky, very well-executed piece which plays on the nostalgia of the Noughties and reminds us that not so long ago making declarations about one's sexual identity and then living a true life was still far from straightforward. Robert Holtom’s coming of age play achieves that delicate balance between pleasure and pathos which makes this a well-rounded comedy drama and apart from getting a little preachy in its final moments it manages to infuse Southwark Playhouse with its own magical aura. 


Alex Britt’s central performance is a joy throughout as he takes Jack from gauche schoolboy to increasingly confident young man; it’s one of those characterisations that you can’t imagine being bettered. Best friends Ron and Hermione – sorry, Ollie and Gemma – are equally winningly played by Martin Sarreal and Charlotte Dowding. Indeed they play everyone else in Jack’s world with the latter being particularly effective as his Eastenders-obsessed Mum and his secretly supportive French teacher. They are a great trio who have clearly bonded well.

Tom Wright’s direction is another joyous aspect; it moves the play along at a cracking pace and the time simply flies by. I particularly enjoyed the very clever time reversal sequences choreographed by movement director Rachael Nanyonjo – there’s some real magic on show there. The other technical and creative aspects all come together beautifully to create a winning combination which delights the eye and the ear and which make their own special contributions.

I’m not sure how much this play has grown and changed since its initial outing but, as it stands, it is well worth 70 minutes of anyone’s time whether they are a Potterhead or not. Recommended.



Review: BottomLine             Photos: David Jenson