Review: Drag King Richard III, Riverside Studios
This play is full of the unexpected. I didn't expect it to be quite so serious - the title led me to think of something completely different and I didn't expect to be cowering behind the fourth wall having been singled out in a dance scene by one of the actors.
It is, on the whole, a curious piece that is at times devastating in it observations about the life of lesbian and transgender friends and at other times frustrating in its execution.
Writer Terri Power draws inspiration from the words of Shakespeare's Richard III for the character Laurie/Laurence (Anne Zander) who has always fancied girls but feels trapped in her female form. Richard's description of his outward appearance becomes a reflection of how Laurie feels about herself and how she is perceived by society. Later when Richard's seduction of Anne is re-enacted the angrily delivered description of the King as a "foul deformity" carries a different weight.
These occasional Richard scenes are mingled with the story of Laurie's friendship with lesbian La Femme (Bonnie Adair) through high school until a misunderstanding sets them on different paths. They return to each other later but La Femme struggles with Laurie's decision to have a sex change.
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