REVIEW: Locusts, Space @ Surgeon’s Hall, Edinburgh Fringe ✭✭✭✭

Paul T Davies review Locusts at Space @ Surgeon’s Hall as part of the @edinburgh Fringe.


Space at Surgeon’s Hall, Edinburgh Fringe
4 Stars
Book Tickets

Hitting the zeitgeist, this new play by Ian Tucker Bell and Garth McLean is forged from their experiences of undergoing gay conversion therapy in churches they attended while younger. The government is yet still to ban the practice in the UK. The play thrums with lived experience and is certainly finding connections with audiences. Happily engaged to his boyfriend, Stephen gets a call from his former Pastor who tried to cure him of his homosexuality. The Pastor now wants to ask Stephen a favour, and events from thirty years ago are triggered.


The play is well-structured and sincere. Tucker Bell himself plays Stephen and his vulnerability is brought out very well, in fact the cast are committed to the subject matter and it’s simply but well-directed by Philip Holden. Yet the play could do with some rage, it feels almost polite and I feel some passion could be unleashed. Given that conversion therapy clearly doesn’t work, the Pastor’s undying faith in it is also not explored.

However, with some audience members rising to their feet at the end, there is a personal connection that is being made and that’s a tribute to the writing. I fell there is a bigger play, beyond the restrictions of the Fringe, that is struggling to come out here.

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