Dumbledore Is So Gay - Southwark Playhouse
The hit show from The Vaults apparates to Southwark
Jack has to reconcile with who he is. The awkward teenager has known the truth for a while but must finally say it aloud. He’s… a Hufflepuff. Oh, and he's also gay. Alongside his equivalent of Ron and Hermione, Ollie and Gemma, Jack is navigating the unsteady realm of adolescence, finding his footing as a teenager, readying himself to step out of the closet. Dumbledore Is So Gay is a heartfelt, moving and hilarious piece centred around young, queer identity with a little touch of magic and, of course, a healthy dose of Harry Potter references.
The play begins in the all too familiar setting of school in the 00s/early 2010s, where the word gay was the go-to insult, casually thrown around without creativity or thought about what it meant. Jack knows how he feels but remains unsure of how to broach the subject with his peers, opting instead to cocoon himself away before ultimately the invisibility cloak slips. Parents say the wrong thing, rumours are traded and Jack discovers the nightclub Heaven, but when worst happens he has a chance to do it all again, to make it better. Like Hermione in The Prisoner of Azkaban, Jack also possesses a time-turner - three turns should do it.
The bright-eyed Alex Britt is sharp and charming as Jack, the endearing but reserved teenager. His comedic style is brilliant, clearly revealing in performing Robert Holtom’s script, able to nicely thread the emotion throughout his delivery. He masters the heavier beats bringing a truthfulness to the words - one to watch over the next few years. He is supported wonderfully by the multi-rolling Charlotte Dowding and Martin Sarreal who glide between the characters in Jack’s life. The pair are hilarious, beautifully cast and thrive within Natalie Johnson’s gorgeous set. Dowding offers the best swimming mime work I have ever seen but also finds depth and vulnerability in Jack’s mum as well as his best friend Gemma. Sarreal shows his range when portraying Ollie, the hard outer shell eventually making way his exposed and sensitive soul. The chemistry between the trio is electric.
Holtom’s play is mighty impressive in its ability to wrap up complex and delicate themes into one of the most welcoming and animated packages going. It is familiar, authentic and sombre when it needs to be but yet it is instilled with hope and promise. Despite the fear and anxiety, made more present by recent events, it sparkles with joy, love and acceptance even if you are in Hufflepuff.
Running until 23rd September - Tickets
Photography - David Jenson