More Gay Sweatshop reviews

Indiscreet was aimed straight at me. It belted me securely between the eyeballs for my complacency and smugness, and I was glad. Whatever it did before, it now follows on beautifully from Mister X, as the badge-wearing Alan Pope confronts not only the straight world and his family, but also the gay world, represented by three gorgeous stereotypes – the fruit-cake, the macho, and the responsible person. Indiscreet puts none of them down, only sending them up affectionately but with point and power, and adds an impassioned exposition of the situation as we gays perpetuate to put down the feminine and the cottagers among our number. Drew Griffiths, as usual, is outstanding, even in such good company…. Go and see it, especially if you came out and then regretted it. You won’t anymore.’ (Gay Week 1976)

As Time Goes By
‘Blacks – like women – have long known that a sense of history can produce the sense of collective oppression from which springs positive action. Noel Greig and Drew Griffith’s play depicts play men continually caught up in history but alienated from it: six versatile actors and a tireless pianist bring it triumphantly to life.’ (Time Out 1977)

Care and Control
‘…one of the most enraging, instructive and bitterly funny plays the Women’s movement has yet produced.’ (Time Out 1977)

The Dear Love of Comrades
‘A beautifully written, tautly constructed play which examines Edward Carpenter’s ceaseless efforts to create a social and sexual Utopia in the chilly climate of late Victorian England.’ (Gay News 1979)
‘Interweaves the many sexual and political strands in the life of Edward Carpenter, gay, poet, socialist, vegetarian, ILP member, idealist and comrade of many. Set against a backdrop of Victorian moral and political re-entrenchment, the play … deals most potently with the personal life of Carpenter, who loved and was loved by three Georges, two married, one single, all working-class. The rendition of their efforts to curb jealousy in their non-monogamous Northern pastoral cottage is vivid and courageous.’ (Time Out 1979)

‘…an unflashy piece, intricately thoughtful and often elliptical in style. It reflects searchingly on how people comply with or resist the death wish of militarism … very much the product of gay consciousness, but contradicts a common criticism of gay theatre by looking out from the ghetto and addressing itself with wit and sometimes brilliance to the biggest question of the day.’ (City Limits 1984)
‘By no yardstick could Poppies be considered a successful play. Less still a successful play for 1985’ [and accuses most of the actors of falling prey] ‘to the slimy sentiment that entraps their characters’ (Gay Times 1984)

Skin Deep
‘Charting the turbulent, one might almost say anti-relationship between a good-looking closet gay, comprehensive school teacher and an aggressively unendearing skinhead pupil, SKIN DEEP is a convincingly written, frequently humorous and ultimately touching exploration of prejudice.’  (City Limits 1985 )

‘What happens when the red-blooded, good time girl recognizes she’s gay? Caught on the see-saw of sexuality .. she relates through a spikey stream of consciousness her confusions and uncertainties … It’s a one step forward two steps back journey of self discovery until Julie comes to accept herself as she really is rather than the image that her friends impose and with which she colludes.’ (City Limits 1985)

Raising the Wreck
‘Warm, funny, perceptive. … Both a celebration and reclamation of women’s history. Paddi Taylor’s production is a joy to watch and there is a fine ensemble playing from the 5-women cast’ (City Limits 1985)

‘Here are two lovers, one agarophobic, one anorexic, both pretending to each other and to the world that they’re fine .. its an intense, genuinely dramatic piece of experimental theatre that telescopes the fears of two lifetimes into an hour.’ (Time Out 1986)

Compromised Immunity
‘I must admit that knowing the plays concern was with death I went with foreboding to the theatre and emerged if not elated, at least in some way moved, consoled and less fearful.’ (The Guardian 1986)

This Island’s Mine
‘With Clause 28 lumbering towards the Statute Book, Gay Sweatshop find themselves at the very frontline, missiles of prejudice whistling around their ears. So you might have expected the group’s latest show to adopt an introspective, angry or didactic stance – or a touch of chauvinism, at least. But This Island’s Mine, written and directed by Philip Osment, is the mellowest, most warm-hearted and sagely contemplative new play I’ve seen in many months. For an example of ‘ghetto’ theatre, its heterosexual characters are remarkably three-dimensional. And far from blindly thumping a militant tub, the play poses awkward questions about the loyalties of the oppressed.’ (The Listener 1988)

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