Genre: Comedy Drama
Writer: Laura Lees
Cast: Jamie Peacock, Adam McCoy, Julie Glover, Roy Brandon, Eithne Browne & Daniel Waterhouse
Review Date: July 25 2019
Performances: July 24 2019-August 10 2019, 7.30pm incl. 1.30pm matinees
Location: Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool
Age Rating: 14+
Shown in the Studio section of the Royal Court Theatre with only 150 seats, the performance of Masquerade was intimate and powerful.
We were transported back to the 1980s following the story of Mike (Jamie Peacock), who is not quite ready to step out of the closet – particularly to his overbearing parents – and it focuses on his journey to find the strength and pride to reveal his true self.
Tony (played by Adam McCoy) is out and proud – his own mum (Julie Glover) knew his was gay before he did! He introduces Mike to the Masquerade club in Liverpool, an epiphany where gay people felt safe to come and party and enjoy the iconic sounds of the 80s.
Frank (Roy Brandon) runs the gaff, ably assisted by Norma (Eithne Browne) – his long-term ‘friend’, plus one and sparring partner. Frank and Norma provide comedic relief throughout, but Frank also sheds light on the difficulties, abuse and insults he experienced throughout his life. I found it really touching.
We were reminded of the tombstone advertising of the 80s with the advent of AIDS and the accompanying blame culture that was initially directed at gay men. The shame and stigma surrounding the illness was touched upon also.
Mike’s blossoming relationship with Stuart (Daniel Waterhouse), a dancer in the club, pressures him into leaving home and having the confidence to be who he really is. There were accomplished performances from the whole cast, an atmospheric set and thoughtful writing by Laura Lees.
The whole production corresponding with Liverpool Pride reminds us how we sometimes take for granted the struggle LGBT members of the community have to feel part of society. Masquerade is simply a brilliant play.
Target Audience: Adults Aged 18-35
Content: 4/5 – Strong Language, Sexual Themes
Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding
Masquerade runs at the Royal Court Theatre until Saturday August 10. To buy tickets, click here or call 0151 709 4321.