Friday, January 27

Taking Up Space – Twenty Twenty Two

New queer writing has the potential to be pioneering, invigorating: something that challenges conventions and introduces an attention-grabbing LGBT+ narrative to a wider audience. This wearisome offering from The Empathy Club instead decides to go down the well-trodden path of perpetually unhappy gays.

‘Taking Up Space’ follows university students Jasreena (India Erlam), Saffy (Megan Webber) and Gia (Sarah Hutchinson) as they navigate the varying relationships between each other.

A dry script littered with all the tropes and cliches queer storytelling has been plagued by for decades attempts to tackle far too many issues at once, resulting in a surface-level toe-dipping into the story’s deep themes from sexuality to depression to marriages of convenience.

Dialogue is clunky- all characters announce each and every time they are going to pour a drink- and the more light-hearted lines are often delivered too quickly for humour to land. However, a conversation about the importance of not labelling people’s sexual identities makes for a welcome inclusion.

The second half descends into scene after scene of soap opera squabbling that becomes arduous to watch. Filled with confusion and anger, the romance thread is akin to that of any ill-fated LGBT+ film from twenty years ago.

There are tender, relatable moments that are well-performed by the actors, encouraging opportunities for quiet reflection.

Functional and intimate staging immerses the audience in each location, though placing one of them at a ninety degree angle to the seating is a neck ache-inducing choice.

A note to emerging theatre-makers: LGBT+ people have experienced more than enough hardship in written works. Give us something to smile about!

‘Taking Up Space’ continues at Twenty Twenty Two, Manchester until 27th July with tickets available from

Reviewer: Scot Cunningham

Reviewed: 24th July 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★