York Theatre Royal – 13 February 2019
Reviewed by Marcus Richardson
Gypsy Queen a match both in and out of the ring. A play that explores the world of sexuality and sport, and how the two rarely intertwine. Written by Rob Ward, a plays of two actors follows the life of ‘Gorgeous’ George a gypsy who gets into professional wrestling, and Dane ‘The Pain’. The two form a close bond as sparring partners and end up romantically together. George who hasn’t come to terms with his sexuality and we watch as their relationship changes both characters. We are given themes of identity as George is stuck between polar worlds such as being a gypsy, gay and getting into boxing from scrapping.
The two actors on stage are the writer of the play Rob Ward and John Askew, playing a multitude of character but mainly focusing on the two main characters. The play is something beautiful and the way both actors approached it created such a moving piece. Askew played Dane, a boxer open with his sexuality, trapped under his father empowering grip; Askew takes on other roles such as George’s mother, giving some good comic relief in the play, yet still dealing with an important issues properly. Ward played George, Ward does a phenomenal job of giving the character a story that is both heart breaking and engages the audience with a lot of attention. Both the actors know how to work with each other on stage both as different characters and as actors. One of the best aspects of the show isn’t the relationships with Dane and George but all the relationships, that of a mother, a father, and a lover.
It has been a while since I have been blown away from a show on this level; a play where we can really focus on the acting without the need for a large distracting set, we listen to what the actors are saying and for me personally the issues raised become more relevant.
The stage did have a changing room bench which was used for many things, smart little scene changes were both effective and quick done by the two actors on stage, a no fuss, no frills situation. Music in the show was thought out and changes scenes so much making them raw and emotional, Artic Monkey’s ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ made an appearance lending itself to be a good fight style song. The lighting was also simple with only three colours used, your basic stage lights and red and blue. Everything was thought out and fitted perfectly with each other and the show.
With the amount of shows I have seen, it’s very rare that I am moved this much by a performance, that’s not saying all the other shows are bad, it’s to say that this show was in a league much higher than your average show. Lasting for ninety minutes with no interval we are deeply submerged into the show. Its a show that is captivating and creates a story that is beautiful beyond words. The show is on tour until 26th of February across the UK and I would highly suggest you watch, if I could force you to watch I would.