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Review: Boy Stroke Girl, at Etcetera Theatre

24 February, 2017 — By Jack Courtney O’Connor

llaria Ciardelli in Boy Stroke Girl

A COUPLE – Peter (Gianbruno Spena) a would-be writer and the enigmatic Blue (llaria Ciardelli), an artist of no defined gender stroke sexuality – meet at Caffè Nero; they seem to have much in common including a passion for Dr Who and so they arrange to meet again.

Ian Dixon Potter’s play poses the question: can one fall in love with someone without knowing their gender? This proposition creates problems for Peter’s friends and family as the author challenges the audience to question “culturally defined stereotypes”.

Peter’s best mate Ron (Duncan Mason) falls into the pigeon-hole of a northern homophobic working-class biker, and needless to say, when biker meets boy stroke girl a confrontation ensues.

The proselytising dialogue from the two main protagonists reminds me of a play for Radio 4 and the scene when Peter takes the androgynous Blue “up north” to meet his parents is too contrived. However, Peter’s former girlfriend Sara (nicely played by Thomasin Lockwood) was the most sympathetic character.

Ciardelli has the difficult task of portraying Blue as a real person and not a Brechtian political mouth piece – and copes admirably.

Potter directs the piece with pace and visual interest with a minimalist set. His dialogue and arguments relating to Conceptual Art and the Aesthetic I found most interesting and applied it to the prime concept/notion of gender… or was I being a stereotypical southern liberal pseud?

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