Robert Softley Gale’s Blanche and Butch is a thoughtful, provocative, gorgeous-to-look-at powerhouse of a production.
Inspired by Noel Greig’s dark and macabre 2006 play with songs, Heelz on Wheelz, this isn’t your quota filling diversity production, it is the poignant, thought-provoking, bitingly funny story of three men, that just happens to feature two wheelchair-bound drag queens.
It’s backstage in a hotel in Wigan and a somewhat down-at-heel (as ragged around the edges as its actors) production of Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? Blanche, Butch and Betty find out a West End (or nearly West End) producer is in the audience, cue bickering, back-stabbing and bitching. But underneath the brittle exterior and the brutal words, we gain an insight into the heart-breaking disappointments and astonishing back stories of three men who span the generations.
Softley Gale’s work challenges our assumptions about gender, sexuality and disability and is particularly thought-provoking in his affecting monologues. As the trio discuss in the play, there’s nothing more patronising or dispiriting than being judged as “very good…considering”. The sheer quality of Softley Gale’s writing allows us to see clearly past the wheels and through to the talent of the actors onstage. As Butch’s T-shirt proclaims ‘PISS ON PITY’ – this is a perfectly formed and powerful piece of writing, that deserves to be seen by the widest audience.
Blanche and Butch is fully accessible with integrated BSL interpretation, surtitles and audio description.
It can still be seen at:
Tuesday 10th October 2017@ 8.00pm: The Gaiety, Ayr
Wednesday 11th October 2017 @ 7.30pm: CatStrand, Castle Douglas
Friday 13th and Saturday 14th October 2017 @ 7.30pm: Summerhall, Edinburgh