On a very well deserved repeat visit to the West End, Rob Madge has brought their show My Son’s a Queer (But what can you do?) back for another glorious run. Without a doubt one of the most joyous productions out there, yet guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye too, this 65 minute autobiographical extravaganza has it all, including pyrotechnics, bubbles, nostalgia, and bucket loads of flair.
Determined to recreate the perfect Disney parade in their living room with full costumes, meet and greets, rides and more- while ensuring the process was a whole family affair- young Rob was destined to be a star from the very beginning. If not doing this, they were reenacting their favourite musicals, with tight schedules, to keep the somewhat helping hand of stage crew, parents, Jon and Jan Madge, on track!
Through a step by step guide to raise a queer, the show uses props alongside ample childhood clips to illustrate the hilarious and heartwarming moments from Rob's past, these are used amongst the script to reflect upon times growing up that have shaped their identity today. With a craving for the camera, there was plenty of opportunity to capture the journey from their home to a bigger stage, and the ups and downs of building the confidence to get there. Some old school reports are shown too, which simply prove that there is no need to dull the imagination of any child, especially when they are destined for greatness like Rob.
On the Ambassador’s stage, lighting by Jai Morjaria is displayed wonderfully, whether applying a spotlight to our lead, or aiding further in other aspects of the storytelling, with Luke Sheppard as director. There are some utterly brilliants quips and references with flawless tone and delivery that leave the audience in stitches.
The songs, composed and with lyrics by Pippa Cleary, are equally clever, and catchy too. Opening the show, 'Anything Is Possible', which will leave you feeling just as the title suggests, with its upbeat and life affirming spirit. 'Pied Piper' is another (very funny) hit, while 'Pieces of My Heart' bring emotions once again, that you can't help but encounter. Providing the first of two standing ovations, 'We Will Be Loved Anyway' is performed with pride, in honour of all of us that perhaps don't seem to fit with those constructed expectations of society.
It’s remarkable how much this solo piece can make a whole audience connect with it, revelling and resonating as they watch. Although it’s Rob’s personal story, it feels like a shared experience of authenticity in life, and certainly a message of freedom and acceptance of ourselves that should be spread far and wide. Their brightness touches hearts, and each and every person who sees this, will leave with a little more hope and colour in them.
My Son’s a Queer (But what can you do?) is such a rare gem of theatre, and a total tonic to see. Though it's probably possible to watch Rob do literally anything and it would be enjoyable, this show has been refined to perfection, and clearly crafted to exhibit both their talents, and with everything needed to revolutionise the meaning of love and self worth.