Now, I don’t know much about boxing but I do remember former Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury got into hot water last year over his comments on gay people, causing a flurry of news headlines on whether he was entitled to be shortlisted as BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year. This brought up the subject of not only homophobia in boxing, but homophobia in sport in general.
In Hope Theatre Company’s Gypsy Queen, Ryan Clayton (those eyes!) plays Dane Samson, an out and proud gay boxer who has fought the struggles of homophobia within the boxing community and won. Rob Ward (also the writer of this piece) plays ‘Gorgeous’ George O’Connell, who is about to embark on not only a professional boxing career but a gay love affair he never saw coming.
From the get go both actors bounce with energy through a flurry of characters, including Samsons’ secret fuck-buddy (again beautifully played by Ward). A special mention also must go to Clayton’s, Aunt Rose. It takes some balls to try your hand at the Irish accent in front of a home crowd, and although it was hard to pinpoint exactly which county the accent came from, it was still a charming attempt!
I was taken aback at how well their faces and physicality changed for each character each actor played. Both Ward and Clayton chew up the scenery in the moving final scenes of this piece. Hats off to Adam Zane for his stellar work in direction and Ward’s writing was so good, I didn’t see the time go by at all
Gypsy Queen continues at The Players Theatre at 7.30pm until May 13, with a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm, tickets here.