The Rainbow Spotlight is a new, online, theatre collective, created entirely by LGBTQ+ people.
Comprising six short shows, under the leadership of artistic director Daisy Major, the pieces explore several facets of what it means to be queer.
The Coming Out Monologues, available in two parts, present four stories written by Barrie Heap and directed by Major.
We hear about Jenny’s childhood, where her emerging attraction to girls is dismissed as “just a phase”. Alivia Yemm is relatable as the girl who is feeling her way through the pressures of puberty and family expectations.
A teacher in Remembering Simon (played by Billy Bray) looks back on his own experience evading bullies, while Tyler (played by Giuseppe Graham) tells us of his first date in a story which builds to a heartbreaking climax.
Emma (Elicia Axon) finds love after a marriage to a man was “lacking”. Set on the evening of her new date, as she bumps into faces from the past, this is a tightly constructed piece.
In audio play Punzo’s Big Letdown, writer Alison Martin and director Caitlin Magnall Kearns explore the Rapunzel legend. With Claire Morley as Punzo, Gemma Griffiths as Alex, and Zo Rees as Sheer Thrills, this is a light and amusing piece touching on body image.
Love is Rubbish, written and directed by Magnall Kearns, features Daisy Major as Gina. In a piece just over five minutes, we’re navigating the area of online dating. This feels like a piece which is going somewhere, but not quite there yet.
Cara Compass’s Different Shit, Same Day follows a woman through successive days as her mood goes up and down, in a kind of ‘Groundhog Day’. Alina Burwitz gives a good performance in an intense piece directed by Major.
Transmission, another audio play, is a mystery piece as a young man (Isaiah James Mitchell) has information when Jimmy goes missing. Can we really trust what is going on? With Mabz Beet as Vivienne, written by James Piercy and directed by Alina Burwitz.
These plays as a group are an accomplished set of new writing, and the project is to be applauded, for creating a space for queer artists to thrive. Not all are fully successful, but all have something to offer.
My thanks to Daisy for allowing me complimentary access to the project.