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FAUN Written by Vinnie Heaven at Theatre503

Ace needs somewhere to stay, they’ve just arranged couch number 13, but sofa-surfing is getting a little old, and is circling them. Cardboard Citizens’ new production looks at homelessness, fawning, and self-worth.

Vinnie Heaven and Afton Moran
Vinnie Heaven and Afton Moran

Having left their mum’s house in unclear but decidedly bad circumstances, Ace has been cashing in on the often-short-lived charity. It’s going well, Ace’s self-destructive people-pleasing is just enough to get by on. In the background of this, they become more painfully sycophantic, slowly turning into a Faun, or Satyr for the Hellenists amongst us. Then they sleep with Ant. They have to move out, triggering a spiral and ending up in a queer forest with a dear who

The piece is very funny, Aitch Wylie constantly shows the audience under the lid of their well-oiled smarm machine. They are dripping with charisma, while Afton Moran & Nyah Randon commit brilliantly to the increasingly ridiculous caricatures who appear along our gay fairytale, initially appearing as the brilliantly heterosexual couple and culminating as a pair of mythical therapists. The whole piece is utterly ridiculous, delightfully queer, over the top, self-aware and hilarious. It is very nice to see theatre about people like me, that has been very clearly made for and by people like me.

But there are other stories at play here. Ace is living on the edge, in a constant state of vulnerability, as they face the prospect of homelessness on the whim of a less-than-adequate friend. This sense of volatility is played well and adds fuel to the fire of Ace’s spiral.

Cardboard Citizens is a fascinating company, taking difficult, often heavy topics and presenting them in very entertaining ways, all without losing touch with the weight of the subject matter at hand. This is not an easy thing to do.

Aside from jokes being repetitive and the morals of the play being so clear it lost weight, this piece is very funny, and entertaining, at moments occasionally hitting the heavier notes.

4 stars

Review by Tom Carter

Ace is 22, trans, queer and sofa surfing – currently – just for now – only at the moment!

They’ve actually just sorted out sofa number 13.

To keep a sofa requires you to act small, smiling, and polite. But no one is perfect and eventually everyone messes up – which would be a lot easier for Ace if they weren’t also unexpectedly growing fluffy ears, and a tiny tail!

It turns out people pleasing has a price and there’s only one place left for Ace to go…

A celebration of queer community, full of heart, youth and pan pipes.

Cardboard Citizens creates theatre with, for and about citizens with lived experience of poverty, inequity and homelessness. We use theatre, art and training to empower individuals to make change in their own lives, and in their communities.

Running time: 80 mins (no interval)

Age guidance: 16+

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