Gay musical revue Gross Indecency back in Joburg


Robert Colman and Robert Whitehead in Gross Indecency

In August 2014, Joburg’s POPArt Theatre premièred Gross Indecency, a new gay-themed work by writer / performers Robert Colman and Robert Whitehead.

After playing to full houses for a limited season, the theatre is bringing a new version back for an extended run this spring.

Starring Colman and Whitehead, who both boast significant performance credentials, the latest version of the show will have acclaimed director Vanessa Cooke at the helm, as well as musical accompaniment by Tony Bentel.

In this hour long musical revue, audiences can expect to be thoroughly entertained while taking a ride through the bumpy (c)anals of LGBTI history in South Africa.

The very true story of a big party, set on the night of a police raid in Forest Town in 1966 – which signalled the tightening of the noose for gay men and lesbians in apartheid South Africa – Gross Indecency is a complicated story of discrimination and lasciviousness that gives raw insight into the reality of homosexual discrimination under apartheid.

“In addition to the appeal of working with such extraordinary and seasoned talents, we believe that this is an important story to be told,” said Hayleigh Evans, Artistic Director of the POPArt Theatre.

“What struck us from the very first reading is this is a largely untold story about the marginalisation of homosexual communities under the apartheid government – a struggle that has not fully been unpacked and very few know about, unless they were there. Though its content is heavy, it is refreshingly tongue in cheek: a celebration of defiance against the system”.

An account from first and second hand experiences at the “Big Party”, the story is told primarily through the experiences of party-goers Rita Haywire and Lana Turnameover, although we also meet several hateful and fantastical characters along the way.

From Balthazar John Vorster to cops on stake-out and some of Johannesburg’s more prominent men ‘on the scene’, Colman and Whitehead take us on a non-stop journey as they retell the incongruous events of that evening in 1966.

Gross Indecency forms part of the THATSOQUEER festival happening throughout Johannesburg from 23 September to 10 October, in collaboration with the UJ Arts Centre, and will run for two weeks at the POPArt Theatre (286 Fox Street, Maboneng) with extra shows added to the regular program.

To book tickets for the show, click here.

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