Fans of Harry Potter will no doubt enjoy the references to the Wizarding World, but Robert Holtom's play Dumbledore Is So Gay is, in essence, a gay coming-of-age story.
It starts when Jack (Alex Britt) is 12 and joins in with his friends' homophobic name-calling out of fear of being on the receiving end. Meanwhile, his dad (Martin Sarreal) insists the TV is turned over when Graham Norton comes on because of his sexuality.
Jack's relationship with his parents and best friends Sally (Charlotte Dowding) and Ollie (also Sarreal), on whom he has a crush, plays out through his teen years, culminating in a devastating event.
But what if, like Hermione, you could use a time-turner and go back and change certain events in your life, make different decisions based on hindsight and experience? Would the outcome be different?
In mixing in the movie references, you can't help but draw parallels between film fiction and Jack's 'real life'. Dumbledore, as Jack tells us, is the only gay character in the series, but JK Rowling kills him off.
Jack initially tries to 'kill off' any idea that he is gay by going along with his friends and getting a girlfriend.
Is Holtom also showing that life isn't like the movies? Or that happy endings can be bittersweet, just like in Harry Potter?
Dumbledore Is So Gay doesn't necessarily have anything new to say about growing up gay, although it does highlight prejudice and sometimes dubious levels of consent within the gay community.
It is more playful and energetic than dark and serious, with agile performances from the cast of three.
I'm giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.
Dumbledore Is So Gay, Southwark Playhouse
Written by Robert Holtom
Directed by Tom Wright
Cast: Alex Britt, Charlotte Dowding & Martin Sarreal
Running time: 70 minutes without an interval
Booking until 23 September; for more information and to buy tickets visit the Southwark Playhouse website
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