Polar Theatre, I.D.

Review in Issue 9-4 | Winter 1997

A lesbian, a gay man, a bisexual man, a bisexual woman and a straight woman (or at least performers representing these) take their place behind a conference table and promise a once-and-for-all definition of gay identity. A preposterous plan, obviously. What actually happens is a ninety-minute summary of current thinking on sexual identity

I.D. concerns itself with the nature/nurture debate, language and gay identity, the need or otherwise for a separate ‘bi’ space etc. From this starting point, Polar Theatre build a show of broad satire, campy in-jokes, costume changes and self-consciously performative movement. After all this was not a real conference, this was theatre. So far, so ho-hum.

The conference conceit enabled the performers to directly address the audience and to quote shamelessly from relevant texts concerned with gender identity and sexual politics. The potential academic dryness of this approach was coolly avoided because of the wit and bravado of the performers: their energy was focused splendidly on a genuine desire to be understood.

Kinetic thrills were few, however. For the most part, what movement there was added to the sense of explanation, but frequently it seemed to be born more out of a fear of stillness than as a realisation of an impulse rooted in the piece itself.

A minor quibble, however, since, for the most part, I.D. was both an entertaining and cerebrally satisfying piece of work.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Nov 1997

This article in the magazine

Issue 9-4
p. 26