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Stephen Colyer’s recent production of the Torch Song Trilogy comes with great expectation, but delivers in great doses.
Theatre: Darlinghurst Theatre
Director: Stephen Colyer
In our formative years, there are always songs, movies and moments that collectively ignite who we are or at the very least, provide context around what we bring to the world. Especially within the LGBT community, films such as Paris is Burning and My Beautiful Laudrette have set the tone to how members feel in their communities, in the arts and in the broader narrative of life. Those disenfranchised who happened to not be part of that community, but identified with it, have also felt great comfort in such pieces of art. Life is underpinned by two facts – feeling like an outsider, and feeling misunderstood. Unrequited love is a prevalent theme in such moments, with songs such as Barbara Streisand’s My Man becoming the anthem for every man or woman who has remained in a toxic or unwanted scenario. Equally, Harvey Fierstein’s cult classic and Tony award winning Torch Song Trilogy became one of the most important films of not only a generation, but a cultural shift. Aside from being the film that presented Anne Bancroft in her most epic role ever, Torch Song Trilogy was a story that almost echoed the bittersweet nature of Alexander Pushkin’s Onegin. The relentless chasing, social typecasting and ultimate lost love, only to find life always moves on, is what Torch Song Trilogy brought to the world.
Stephen Colyer’s recent production of Torch Song Trilogy has opened with almost an unfair expectation by the audience. Could Simon Corfield sustain the raw signature voice in his delivery of the illuminating and loveable Arnold Beckoff? Would many of the issues facing the characters still maintain relevant in 2018? Fortunately, this production of Torch Song Trilogy not only delivered a glimpse into one of the most iconic times in drag queen history, but it was able to evoke Hollywood moments often forgotten, such as their carefully orchestrated rendition of The Man That Got Away, sung by Hilary Cole. Simon’s potrayal of Arnold living the rollercoaster of infatuation, excitement, unrequited love and ultimately acceptance and release in the arms of a new lover, gives hope to not only those who feel alone in such experiences, but provides a backdrop to the experiences of those who both hold true to their artistic expression and fondness for hope.
Torch Song Trilogy is a play that should particularly be experienced by those who have only be exposed to Ru Paul’s Drag Race, as the play looks at the layers of those not only within the LGBT community but those sharing the human condition of unrequited love, pain, inner conflict and hope, accompanied by a soundtrack that provides strength to endure everything we face.
Torch Song Trilogy
Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton Street, Darlinghurst
Season: 4 – 26 August 2018 (previews: 1 – 3 August)
Information and Bookings: www.darlinghursttheatre.com.