Thursday, 24 October 2013

Cured

The Arches, Glasgow
Three stars
How do you get over being gay? That's not the question posed in Stef 
Smith's new play about one woman's coming to terms with her sexuality. 
It is, however, the driving force behind the people who run the sort of 
clinic the woman attends in the hope of 'curing' her homosexuality and 
getting her some apparently well-earned credit in the straight world. 
As Julie Hale's Susan flits between the clinic, her home life caring 
for her ageing mother and a burgeoning romance with a more experienced 
woman in Ros Philips' fluid production, beyond her initial state of 
denial she is forced to square up to old episodes of American sit-com 
The Golden Girls, the trials and tribulations of the dating game and 
the secrets of something the clinic calls 'heterosexual holding.' All 
this and a fortieth birthday to deal with too.

While all this is told in a broadly comic sweep that makes such cranky 
institutions as the one depicted appear ridiculous, there is an 
underlying seriousness to the play as well. Clinics and attitudes like 
this actually exist, preying on both their patients insecurities and 
fears as well as those behind them, and the more they are discredited, 
the better.

This Glasgay! commission isn't a lecture, however, and, with a 
knowingly versatile Mary Gapinski playing all roles other than Susan, 
is peppered throughout its seventy minutes with a warmth and a wit that 
serves its subject well. Hale plays Susan without archness or quirks, 
which makes her plight all the more recognisably ordinary. Ultimately, 
then, this is a play about reconciliation; between Susan and her 
mother, her lovers and, most importantly, with herself.

The Herald, October 24th 2013

ends

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