Saturday, May 25Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

“boys wear their hats backwards so they can kiss other boys” – Review

I did not know what to expect going into “boys wear their hats backwards so they can kiss other boys”. A theatre piece based around the collective ideas and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community; it was so perfectly shown in the selected music and pieces of writing on the strengths and pitfalls of emotional relationships. It was a wonderful and emotional piece and all the more impressive for how quickly it was put together.

The slightly scattered quality of the performance only added to the overall feeling, embodying the idea of how no form of love is quite a straight road. The setting, though sparse, took a backseat in comparison to the clear amount of effort from the actors, chosen music, and writing. Intersecting with dance was an interesting way to show different emotions. In particular, intimacy and the changing of partners as the audience watched the cast slowly remove an article of clothing piece by piece with painstaking hesitation and nervousness, only to suddenly switch to a much louder fast-paced dance of exchanging clothing and drawing the audience’s eye to everywhere and everyone all at once.

There were points in the show where I, and other members of the audience, could easily connect their own memories and that connection is priceless in such a show. The actors themselves felt incredibly honest in both their interaction with each other and their short speeches. Jokes and stories revolving around first kisses, sexual awakenings, and dating apps were not only entertaining to watch but felt very relevant, especially to students and the lives of young people. It did not shy away from the frightening confusion and fear that anyone can face when discovering new feelings within themselves.

With the use of “It” by Kavindu “Kavi” Ade; a strong poem using the example of Peter Pan leading to the painful experiences of those discovering gender identity away from what was expected, I could not but help fall a little in love with the performance because of how when going through such an experience it was the exact poem a friend of mine found solace in. The use of this really showed how much thought and effort went into making this performance as true and as much of a collective effort as possible.

There was an obvious focus on the internal obstacles and emotions within both the LGBTQ+ community and queer relationships, but it was a shame to hint at the impact of outside influence, or events such as the Orlando club shooting, and not explore it further in connection with the more intimate struggles faced. However, the narrower focus was more beneficial to the production as a whole.