Rob Madge: My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do) – Underbelly

Created by Robert Madge

Rating: 5 out of 5.

You’ve likely already seen the cute videos of the young kid, recreating the over-commercialised Magical wonder of Disney in their living room. For shame if not – in the videos of Robert Madge, Mickey Mouse signs autographs, Belle finds their Beast, Bert misses his cue, and Maleficent is once again shunted.

But they’re recreating it once more; the Main Street, the Teacups, and hell, if we ask nicely, they might even show us their Thunder Mountain.

Glittering far above, a projection of the family home movies accompanies Madge as they guide us through their early experience with creating theatre on a shoe-string budget (how times have changed). But there’s an additional voice which rings throughout – Rob’s Father. The demanding little tyke ropes their father into aiding throughout the parades and recreations, and their dad goes along with it all like an utter champ. But it wasn’t always so easy.

These images of a rising diva swither away to evolve into a fuller production, but they still hold a place to reinforce the discussions and call-backs from the more intense sequences. There’s an inherent element of Madge’s experiences and life, it is a relative semi-biography after all, but most compelling within the structure and musical numbers is this passionate plea and respectful request of parents to recognise the early systemic prejudices of ‘pinks and blues’ through tightly constructed song.

But there’s a sliver of something underneath the glitter and shell-bikinis, for as much as Madge instructs us with the seven steps to devise our extravagant show (living room optional), My Son’s A Queer elaborates, tastefully and strikingly subtly for a show with this much Disney, the value of nurturing younger people in our lives’ interests and talents.

Rarely does a standing ovation occur with such spontaneity and with such evident understanding and mirth. There will be tears, but nothing in this glorious piece of Queer theatre feels thrust upon, there are no real sob stories – just genuine occurrences from Madge and their parents and grandparents’ impact.

There’s a reason the show opens with a nostalgic melody, as no matter how bleak your day has been – departing Madge’s My Son’s A Queer will leave even the dourest Disney-phobic pessimist having a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah sort of day.

‘Glorious’

Rob Madge: My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do) runs at the Underbelly until august 28th (not 22nd)

Tickets for which may be obtained here.

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