Suzanne Rath

From sperm donors to gay dads seeking surrogates, the diversity of Rainbow Families is illustrated here.

Image: supplied

Early in Gaybies, Ciara (Zindzi Okenye) states the five questions people always ask her, as the child of gay parents. Over the 90 minutes that follow, the 7 cast members answer these queries, and far more, through a series of funny and poignant exchanges.

Gaybies begins with a rapid fire introduction from each of the characters, before gradually building to longer, more personal anecdotes. In non-linear fashion, each of the ensemble tell the story of their upbringing- some based on the actors’ own lives, others on the experiences of Dean Bryant’s interviewees. As Rose, Georgia Scott describes how her father fell for her mother’s male friend and she has two fun loving Dads. Daniel (Steve Le Marquand) recounts a less happy relationship with his father, whose partner Bob was the more approachable in the relationship.  There are sperm donors, gay men seeking surrogates, lesbian couples, mothers who left their child in the seventies, feminists and more, all illustrated through tight dialogue and performances interspersed with group sing-alongs. Some of the Gaybies’ experiences are similar: often they were told to pretend their parents had separate rooms, with most wondering what the fuss was about. The majority, however, are different; it should come as no surprise that rainbow families are as diverse as the rest of us.

The accomplished cast do an excellent job here, striking a chord with audience members through their deeply humane portrayals of the characters and their delivery of observational humour and wit. Special mention must go to Georgia Scott, Rhys Keir and Sheridan Harbridge, who are all absolutely hilarious. Keir makes a very amusing child as Henry: less believable is Le Marquand’s 21 year old Brandon. Clever set-design places the characters in what could be a school hall, or a theatre rehearsal room, giving plenty of freedom to move around the stage. The songs used are from composer Mikey Bee’s band, MT Warning and could just as easily have been written especially for Gaybies.

Originally created as a response to the gay marriage debate for Melbourne’s Midsumma, Gaybies has been tweaked somewhat, yet it still retains a large emphasis on equal marital rights; a debate which still rages two years after its inception. The combination of this and its partnership with Sydney’s Mardi Gras makes this a timely, relevant and enjoyable piece.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Darlinghurst Theatre Company
Eternity Playhouse

By Dean Bryant
Director: Dean Bryant
Production Designer: Owen Phillips
Lighting Designer: Ross Graham
Composer and Arranger: Mikey Bee
Stage Manager: Angharad Lindley
Cast: Cooper George Amal, Sheridan Harbridge, Rhys Keir, Steve Le Marquand, Zindzi Okenyo, Olivia Rose, Georgia Scott.

6 February - 8 March 2015

About the author

Suzanne is a Sydney based writer, producer and co- founder of Idle Wrath Films. She tweets as @Suzowriting