Saturday, May 25

BOUND – Hope Street Theatre

Theatre placing LGBTQ+ characters front and centre is still a rarity, even in 2024. In times where representation and equality are increasingly important, it is refreshing to come across new theatre centring on a same-sex relationship. BOUND, a new comedy by Phoebe Edmonds, and presented by Grapevine Theatre, follows lesbian couple Dani and Charlotte as they become engaged. What is seemingly a simple tale of wedding planning takes a twist when it becomes apparent that Dani is only willing to marry when The Church of England allows same-sex marriage.

Edmonds’ One Act script offered great potential, particularly in its comedic elements. Along with Caitlin Newman, Edmonds directed her own piece and thus was able to fully realise her vision for the play. As the play only had two characters, with little plot development, I think it would’ve been prudent to develop the characters’ backstories further to create a fully rounded piece. That being said, I really enjoyed the observations of everyday relationships – who hasn’t discussed with their partner what to have for dinner or which load of washing to put on next? Comedic moments, such as the ‘Bake Off’ theme and ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’, were directed and delivered beautifully. The play flowed nicely, but at times some alternating of the pace would’ve added some dynamism to the piece.

Dani and Chalotte, played by Hosanna Starkey and Jessie Wakelin respectively, brought confidence, energy and great presence to their roles. They were clearly well rehearsed; however, I would’ve liked to have seen the spontaneity and chemistry between the two worked on further, particularly to explore the deeper connection they shared aside from the sarcastic humour. Starkey and Wakelin were at ease in their roles and contrasted their characters effectively. I particularly enjoyed the serious moments to the play with both displaying raw, authentic emotion.

It was coincidental that I, a gay man, watched tonight’s performance on my fifth wedding anniversary, with my husband. I questioned for much of the piece: Why was Dani so keen to marry in the church? Why did it matter to her so much? It was only when she discusses the fact that her heterosexual brother, who hates religion, could marry easily in the church “just because he likes the building”, that it really hit home. The unfairness, the inequality that still exists.

Overall, with a little more character and plot development, BOUND has the makings of a really strong piece of theatre. It was wonderful to watch a play produced entirely by women and I look forward to seeing what else Grapevine Theatre present in the future.

To follow Grapevine Theatre’s future productions, they’re on Facebook @Grapevine Theatre Liverpool, Instagram @grapevine_theatre_liverpool and X (Formerly Twitter) @gvt_liverpool or at www.grapevinetheatre.co.uk

Reviewer: Paddy Darnell-Walsh

Reviewed: 21st April 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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