Review – Venus as a Boy – Soho Theatre

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“Self- knowledge is knowledge of the divine … that the self and the divine could be identical.”

It was like “Breakfast on Pluto,” but, you know, if the movie had been interesting.

Tonight I went and saw a play called Venus as a Boy.

Doubtlessly some of you have read the book. I had not. I saw the ad on the Soho Theater’s website, which said “An explosive and haunting story about the miraculous power of sex,” and me, well, I’m interested in sex-positive theater. Inside it’s further described thus: “With just one touch or kiss, he can reveal a glimpse of heaven in all its resplendent glory. Some call him Cupid. Or Venus as a Boy.”

Another quote (from the play) goes, “My reward is the understanding that, for those I’ve touched, knowledge of me is knowledge of the divine.”

And, well, I really liked this play. At first I thought it was a fairy tale about a person who gives people visions of heaven, then, well, it was a bit of a nightmare, and then it could have been a very stupidly “In search of Twoo Wuv” tale, but instead it was kind of, to me, about … how sex can really bring out the higher side of people, how, rather than being something to be rejected as sinful, it is a way of getting closer to the divine. And the lead character, well, maybe he was “just a whore,” but I really bought him as a sort of Christ figure, helping people who had no joy to have a brief time when they thought that they might at least find joy in the afterlife as they’d glimpsed a tiny bit of delight on earth.

I also thought that the character was a positive portrayal of a bisexual, and the complications in people’s sexuality and sexual identity and how labels never really get it right or have much to say about who the person really is who’s wearing that tag. Yeah, sure, it was tragic, but sometimes life goes wrong, and really happy stories can be so boring, don’t you agree?

Afterwards I turned to and said, “Well, for a total crap shoot, that was a winner, don’t you think?” And he agreed. It’s especially amazing because it was a one man show (with guitarist, actually the author of the book), and I usually HATE them because a lot of people can’t hold the stage for an hour, but this guy did. Go, Tam Dean Burn. And go you, oh my flisters. THe show is only 10 quid through the end of this week and runs through September 22nd; you won’t want to say you missed it. I mean, we even liked the lighting, and the costuming made me think I should dress like Greed for Halloween (see icon above). How much more can I say?

To make my night perfect, I came home and discovered the Hotel Chocolat people had inadvertently sent me two free introductory boxes. God, life is good.

(This review is for a performance seen the night of September 5th, 2007.)

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