The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs Review

Soho Theatre, London – until 11th June 2022

Reviewed by Celia Armand Smith


From My Favourite Things to Bridge Over Troubled Water, the new play from Iman Qureshi, directed by Hannah Hauer-King is a roller-coaster ride following the lives, loves and songs of a lesbian community choir struggling to gain members and momentum and eventually finding themselves on the main stage at Pride.

At the heart of it, this play is about finding belonging and togetherness in a world that is frankly insistent on tearing us all apart. The musical pieces are mostly funny, but there is always an underlying sadness, and the singing is exceptional. Throughout the performance, you could feel everyone in the audience exchanging glances with the people around them and giggling as they related to pretty much most of it. Despite the lightness of the comedy and music, the play asks some difficult questions about lesbian visibility, trans and disabilty rights, immigration, and male violence against women, all with empathy and kindness. A life of dignity and inclusion feels like it shouldn’t be a big ask but it is.

Every member of the cast is brilliant. All the main characters are relatable and warm and portrayed with tenderness and sensitivity. I would list standout performances but it really is everyone, they all shine bright. Shuna Snow, Kibong Tanji, Claudia Jolly, Lara Sawalha, Kiruna Stamell, Mariah Louca, and Fanta Barrie are fantastic, funny and heartbreaking. There are a few male characters too all played by Fayez Bakhsh who had the difficult role of playing men that ranged from mildly unlikable to extremely hateful, so props to him.

To say that I was profoundly moved by this play is an understatement. It’s taken a while to gather my thoughts on this as I wanted to do it justice. Everyone needs to see this play as it feels important, for all women everywhere