Review: The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs, Soho Theatre - fun, flirtation and representation
The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs is one of those plays that unashamedly bursts off the stage, much like the lesbian choir around which the story revolves.
Fed up with being invisible, Connie (Shuna Show) puts the choir forward for an audition to perform on the main stage at Pride. They stand a good chance of landing the gig as there are no other lesbian choirs and the organisers of Pride want more lesbians on the bill.
The choir practice is full of banter, flirting and drama (and a bit of singing), but it's a safe, inclusive and supportive space. Until a badly thought through T-shirt slogan threatens to tear the happy band apart.
And that's what makes Iman Qureshi's The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs a potent piece of theatre. It is witty, laugh out loud, funny and warm, but at the same time doesn't shy away from more serious themes.
Not all in the choir are out or can be out for cultural or religious reasons. The play also presents the harsh reality of prejudice which can turn violent.
There is also debate around exclusive vs shared spaces and what that means for trans women. And the lack of lesbian representation and spaces where they can safely meet up, have fun and flirt.
It is refreshing to see a play like The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs. Great strides have been made with gay representation and presenting gay narratives on stage, but lesbian representation still feels woefully absent.
And that is the key point of the play. It challenges why the lesbian community is so invisible, leaving a rallying cry to heal divisions and let collective pride shine through.
It is a play funny, interesting and occasionally challenging play that had me walking out of the theatre with a big grin on my face. And that is a big win; I'm giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.
The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs, Soho Theatre
Written by Iman Qureshi
Directed by Hannah Hauer-King
Running time: 2 hours and 15 minutes, including an interval
Booking until 11 June, see the Soho Theatre website for tickets and more information.
The Breach, Hampstead Theatre ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Age of Rage, Barbican Theatre ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️