Monday 2 March 2020

This Queer House @ The Vaults

This Queer House @ The Vaults

There are some great ideas in This Queer House, from the OPIA Collective. As the title suggests, it's about a queer couple navigating the heteronormativity of domestic life - they inherit a new home but the pressures of family tear them apart. It begins in a sort of sitcom style, with amusing lines, canned laughter and short snappy scenes, with knowing self-referential humour. This couple are subversive and break the mould, but they also argue like any other couple and must integrate into their community no matter what their sexuality or gender.

A third character is thrown into the mix too, the actress playing a number of roles including a hyper-masculine builder, a robotic Stepford wife, and even a talking dog. The aim is to personify the heteronormativity the queer couple face, a foil to their paranoia.

Then things get weird. A mid-play interlude takes us to a sort of fantastical dreamworld of a pair of children meeting a witch and it all takes a turn towards the symbolic, the bizarre, the absurd. The couple are haunted by ghosts of the past, but it all gets too surreal, frantic and shouty.

There are simply too many ideas at play here: the fear of living with a partner; the varying levels of normality and queerness; mourning the loss of the past when a trans person transitions. All of these are worthy of focus, but This Queer House is in need of script editing to really give clarity to its clever ideas. Instead, with its denial of heteronormativity, the play is so concerned with what it's not, it forgets what it is.


Watch: This Queer House ran at the Vault Festival from 27th Feb - 1st March.

This Queer House @ The Vaults
Photo: Tara Rooney