A reviews round-up for Bootycandy at the Gate Theatre in London.
The Gate Theatre presents the UK premiere of Robert O’Hara’s play Bootycandy, which is a semi-autobiographical, kaleidoscopic, Black queer fever dream of connected vignettes, exploring childhood, sexuality, fantasy and reality.
The play is directed by Gate Theatre Associate Artist Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu, whose acclaimed play For Black Boys Who Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy is transferring from the Royal Court to the Apollo Theatre in the West End on 25 March 2023.
Sutter is on a journey. A sugar-exploding pilgrimage to understand himself, the world around him, and why his Old Granny calls his d*ck a “bootycandy”. But in continuing to discover all the parts that make him “him”… will he come to terms with what he finds?
The Gate theatre recently relocated to its new home near Mornington Crescent and Camden, and shockingly lost all of its Arts Council funding in the swinging cuts made in November 2022.
Bootycandy is playing at the Gate Theatre in London to 11 March 2023.
" Thrilling, uproarious comedy explores Black queerness from every angle"
"Inventive direction and a spectacular cast make the London transfer of Robert O’Hara’s kaleidoscopic off-Broadway play a spiralling, high-energy triumph"
"Robert O’Hara is a tease. In this exhilarating tragicomedy, the writer is always several fleet-footed steps ahead. A nervous delight results from his total control of the stage, as he lets us flounder in entertained bafflement before gradually handing us subtle, playful reveals."
"In this thrilling UK debut, the action is dynamised by Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu’s inventive, nimble direction. No moment is wasted, no energy dropped. Every movement is a dance..."
"Only as the scenes pile up do we see the sinister threads that keep these characters tied together. A wickedness seeps into innocence."
"The most startling show in London – and a lesson for the Arts Council"
"Robbed of its arts council funding, the Gate Theatre hits back with a glorious, disorientating show about growing up black and gay in the US"
"The Gate has responded by unleashing the most startling piece of theatre to be seen anywhere in London."
"... Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu’s supremely self-assured, beautifully acted ensemble production, which takes place on a simple bare table and which effortlessly assimilates the play’s serrated rhythms, fantasy dream states, self-aware wit and exaggerated modes of expression"
"Rips your heart out"
"US writer Robert O’Hara’s brilliantly kaleidoscopic comic exploration of queerness and identity makes its hilarious, emotionally wrenching UK debut"
"... an extraordinary, exhilarating piece of work. It rips your heart out, even as you’re laughing, and makes you freeze in shock, even as you’re itching to dance along with it. It’s a unique experience."
"Each vignette is like a mini explosion of creativity, popping off designer Milla Clarke’s vast table-top set, around which the audience sits. A musical history of soul, R&B and pop hits provides the rhythm and tempo."
"O’Hara writes each scene with fierce wit. He whips the audience up with knowingly exaggerated tropes before dropping us suddenly, still laughing helplessly, into a landscape of raw pain, in which grins now look like cries for help."
"This production paints dark, complex themes – child abuse, homophobia, internalised shame, racial stereotyping and toxic masculinity – in subversively bright colours. That is its genius. In its dazzling glare, in the image of a young Sutter dressed as Michael Jackson, there are unsparing truths."