Reviewed at The Warren in Brighton and transferring to the Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden, Boy Stroke Girl focuses on the concept of gender, stereotypes and what it is actually necessary to know before you can fall in love with someone.
The play centres around the characters of Peter, a 20-something man, and Blue, an androgynous person of a similar age. The two initially bond over their shared love of Doctor Who before realising they both have similar perceptions on stereotypes. As Blue and Peter grow together Peter, his friends and his family question whether it is possible to fall in love with someone without knowing their gender, which causes for a lot of awkward moments in addition to a lot of hilarity. At the same time Blue and a friend debate the problems and advantages of pursuing a relationship when one party is keeping their gender hidden.
The main issue that arises is should we define others by gender? In addition to this is the bigger question as to whether a person can ever not be processed and put into a box, metaphorically speaking. For even though Blue’s androgyny was there so as to prevent them from being placed into the social confines of society it backfired in the sense that (with the exception of Peter and even then he was not entirely un-opinionated) Blue’s gender was the first thing the other characters in the play commented upon, and for the most part the only thing they commented on. In turn this raised a lot of questions about gender and the importance of it, however, personally, I feel this is something everyone should have to work out for themselves.
Boy Stroke Girl is perfectly written so as to keep the audience guessing. This allows for the questioning of your own thought process at the same time the characters are questioning theirs. It is only at the very end of the play that Peter finds out Blue’s gender and while the audience are provided with the biggest clue of all there is still no actual confirmation.
Likewise the actors portray the androgyny of Blue to perfection, particularly Lassalle as there is not one point in their acting that leads to any confirmed thought that Blue is either a boy or a girl.
Finally, the set of Boy Stroke Girl was simple yet beautiful. Red storage boxes were used to create the different scenes depending on their placement on stage, in addition to holding the majority of the props for the cast. The music was also appropriate using modern day references to gender. Everything allowed every aspect of the play to flow with perfect fluidity.
Review by Kat Caunter
A new play by Ian Dixon Potter.
Can you fall in love with someone without knowing their gender?
Peter is about to find out when he falls for the sexually ambiguous ‘Blue’.
Their relationship poses a challenge to Peter’s identity, forcing him to face some difficult questions: to what extent are we all encouraged to conform to narrow culturally defined stereotypes, to label and to pigeon-hole ourselves? Are these labels a form of straight jacket, by adapting to them do we compromise our true nature and can we defy the ultimate label of gender? Does this pressure to conform inevitably give rise to derision and hatred towards those who by choice or inclination, stand outside society’s norms?
Casting caution to the wind, Peter’s passion for Blue provokes prejudice and hostility from friends and family in a tale of sexual liberation and shattered taboos.
Boy Stroke Girl
At: Studio 2: The Warren (part of Brighton Fringe)
Writer: Ian Dixon Potter
Director: Courtney Larkin
Producer: Moya Doherty
Cast: Lai-Si Lassalle (Blue), Gianbruno Spena (Peter), Katrina Allen (Sarah/Suzy/Cath) and Duncan Mason (Trevor/Ron)
Mon 30th May – Sat 4 June, 2016 at 7.30pm.
Tickets £14 / £10.00