‘Same, same, but different’ is a rocking blockbuster. It packs the romance, the relationship’s transformation and deepening, and almost a decade of the queer couple in an hour-long play! With its keen perception of the lived realities of mixed-race couples, heteronormative families, and insensitive work environments, it is crafted with finesse to hit a nerve across broader demographics. This play must be seen, celebrated, talked about and seen again.
We meet the endearing characters of Cam and Jesse at the age-old queer meet cute outside the dance hall. Though one is familiar with all the beats of romance, it is refreshing to see a queer and non-binary couple express their love, friendship, commitment and decision-making on stage. The agony and ecstasy of romance is scene painted with the heartwarming chemistry shared between Megs Kumari and Em Thane. The audience laughs, giggles, and gasps as the couple knits the blanket of their relationship. The play is also able to bring to the forefront the challenges of being a social health worker and artist who are literally the backbone of our society but have such tough lives to survive.
The skilful writing and stage direction almost feel like a ballet of emotion. Pieced around the mundaneness of everyday life, the couple dances through, holding a mirror for us to reflect on our blindspots in our intimate relationships. Monologues juxtapose the couple’s interactions with meetings with their therapist. The dilemmas and tensions between the couple are so relatable, from deciding whether one wants Kids or not and deepening our connection with the character’s internal dialogue.
Directed by Toni, written and performed by Megs Kumari and Em Thane at Unnamed Friend Productions, have brought a gem to the Brixton House. The Housemates Festival has showcased some important everyday stories from across London. Hope this play gets an opportunity to travel and meet audiences nationwide. ‘Same same but different’ will leave you grinning long after the curtains fall.
It was great to note that they also had a BSL interpreter Vinessa. All theatres would benefit to make this a norm and their productions more accessible. A queer show made by queer folks is not only for queer people but allows us to tap into so many universal emotions that tug all our heartstrings and unravel life’s mysteries of how we choose to continue showing up for people we love.
Reviewer: Anisha Pucadyil
Reviewed: 12th July 2023
North West End UK Rating: