Based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Larry Mitchell, The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions is an Avant Garde production discussing discrimination, sexual liberty and gender diversity within the LGBTQIA+ community.


The stage is stark, an impressive array of instruments line the sides and the back alongside several wooden chairs, a bell hangs from the rafters. The lighting rises and taking centre stage Mariamielle Lamagat opens the show with a soft melodic humming. “It’s been a long time and we are still not free” is spoken and the words are taken up by others in the cast.


And so, the scene is set. Visually minimalist and audibly intricate, The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions is a production that challenges expectations. 

Focused heavily on Composer Philip Venables’s emotive soundscapes, extracts (some modified, some verbatim, all prepared by Ted Huffman) of the source text offer us a production not focused on characters and dialogue or where you would find a ‘traditional’ plotline but something otherworldly and mesmerising in its almost abstract nature.


The alternative presentation style far from detracts from the high quality of the performances from the whole cast and between Huffman’s Direction and Yshani Perinpanayagam’s Musical Direction this is a finely crafted cohesive piece reminiscent of a campfire storytelling. The heavy focus on more traditional instruments amplifies the almost conspiratorial feeling and though there are some moments with more modern musical interjections that do feel somewhat jarring and out of place, they don’t serve to detract too heavily from the overall tone and do offer some noteworthy dance sequences.

Kit Green takes an element of the presenter role with the only fourth wall-breaking direct address section, delivered in a heart-warmingly open and approachable style, however every member of the cast has their chance to take centre stage in a series of smooth-flowing and finely coordinated segues.


There are unfortunately a few issues with the sound and some of the performers are less clear than they could (should) be, but we are offered subtitles that counteract this so it’s never a major issue. These also highlight where performers deviate from the script, but the delivery of the lines is consistently confident, and a few artistic liberties are more than forgivable.


The informal and occasionally chaotic presentation is a strong fit with the revolutionary tone of the source material and the message of the oppression and exclusion by “the men” of “the faggots” and their friends are sadly all too relevant to this day.


There is a lot to enjoy in The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions and while anyone looking for the hero’s three-part journey will need to look elsewhere, this show offers a lot for viewers keen to experience something stylistically innovative, powerful and uplifting.

Running until the 28th of January in the Queen Elizabeth Hall of the Southbank Centre. Tickets are here


Review: Damien Russell             Photos: Camilla Greenwell