After The Act (A Section 28 Musical)

Ellice Stevens and Billie Barrett
Breach Theatre
Traverse Theatre

After The Act (A Section 28 Musical)

The introduction of the Local Government Act section 28 by the Margaret Thatcher in 1988 decreed that the schools and councils were forbidden to 'promote' the teaching of homosexuality and that gay and lesbian practices were not normal.

This denial had a catastrophic affect on generations of young people as they were denied access to any information about how to understand their sexuality.

Breach Theatre brings an important, vivacious verbatim musical that chronicles the protests and fights to repeal the act. It begins with London Haringey Council approving the Danish children’s picture book Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin, which created a public outcry.

With the advent of AIDS and the tombstone ads on television creating panic, it creates a fever of panic, creating shame of what is being named as a 'gay disease'.

In protest, we have lesbians invading Sue Lawley’s news broadcast. Activists abseil into the House of Lords or in this case through the audience.

The pulsating music by Frew and the high energy performance by writer Ellice Stevens, E M Williams, Tika Mu’tamir and Zacchary Willis is impressive. The choreography and physical theatre is breathtaking.

What make this production special are the individual stories. The closeted female PE teacher terrified in case she loses her job when seeing a sixth form student in a gay bar.

Then there are the church conversion therapies, the tortured teenager who knows he is gay but has no way of knowing about gay sex and self-harms.

With digital projections and headlines from the era and a superb cast, this production shines.

Reviewer: Robin Strapp

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