Tuesday 16 February 2010

"I love flouncing as much as any other queen!"

How would you sum up your life in three acts? You couldn't! I couldn't! And if your life was as interesting as Bette Bourne's? - well...

Playwright and author Mark Ravenhill has helped the venerable queen (dowager?) to do just that, by basically bringing a set of interviews they did a couple of years ago to the stage. Acknowledging this fact from the outset, it was inevitable that the format would make this a slightly "stiff" performance in parts - both players reading from the page - but it's the stories that Bette has to tell that make this a sublime experience.

In two hours, this unique life is explored - from his earliest memories of being a theatrical toddler with an abusive father, through school-day fumblings with other boys, to a serious stage career, his notorious gay commune life and politics, New York and the anarchic Bloolips drag troupe, the AIDS era, and his evolution into today's revered theatrical legend (he has even played Lady Bracknell...). Bette even entertained us with some of the songs from his shows - it was magical!

We love Bette Bourne - we saw him in Rock - the Henry Wilson Story two years ago, when he was also inducted into the "House of Homosexual Culture Hall Of Fame". A fascinating and multi-faceted grande dame indeed - catch this while you can!

Bette Bourne - A Life in Three Acts is at the Soho Theatre

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