Write because you want to, not because you have to.
Overall rating: ★★★★★ Date attended: 07/03/2019
BJ McNeill is eloquent and articulate in describing his upbringings as a gay individual in a heteronormative society. All he wanted to do was pursue interests that brought him joy and happiness. And yet, his life turned out to be what (almost) every individual in queer culture has sadly experienced.
Growing up queer in a homophobic part of Australia, McNeill hits the nail on the head by commenting on the 'blueprint' of Australia that defines what is acceptable (smashed avocado on sourdough) and what isn't (being gay). He takes us on an adventurous journey, from the time he was a young boy to becoming the man that he is today. As much as his story tugs at our heartstrings, the pain we feel, upon listening to McNeill's recount of his experiences of growing up gay in a society where he was always rejected, unwanted, and / or neglected, doesn't compare to the anguish that McNeill has experienced first hand.
McNeill tears down the ideal vision of what classifies a boy as a boy, by blurring the lines around what he experienced growing up in a family with contradicting values and beliefs to his own and turning the tables from being meek, who tried to fit into the little box of this ideal of a boy from the society's point of view, to stepping out of the box and unleashing his rebellious, revolutionary, and real self. We (in the audience) are immersed into his world and it's near impossible to not empathise with just how tough and challenging it can be for someone from the queer culture to grow up in an environment, where they are shunned; simply for existing the way that they are. There are moments flamboyance and fabulousness, and then, there are others that expose the thoroughly flawed views of society that infuriate you and fill you with a raging need to bring change. It's one of those life skills that people from the queer culture are never taught in school and poses a concerning yet important question, 'How to grow up in a society, where you are ridiculed for being "different" to the norms?'.
With a stellar soundtrack, McNeill and his dancers Rebecca Montalti and Mitchell Wilson are able to set the stage of fire with their feisty moves, their flawless choreography, and their perfected smize(s) that you simply can't look away from. Complementing the strong and emotion-invoking narrative that is eloquently articulated by McNeill, this autobiographical theatrical representation of McNeill's life stands as a bold, strong, and loud voice for LGBTQIA acceptance and appreciation.
Flawed Like A Boy is an experimental show of drama, theatre, and dance that is cohesively strung together to make you feel all kinds of emotions. It lends a voice to the voiceless and isn't one to shy away from being explicitly open about embracing yourself for who you are. It is an abstract yet reflective piece that bashes the conventional idea of masculinity and instead, brings in a new sense of empowerment towards men who choose to follow what their heart desires. What seems to be a raw recount of a boy with a life flawed with challenges, this is an exquisitely flawless performance that will move you, floor you, and excite you - all in an hour!
Flawed Like A Boy will be performing at the Masonic Lodge (Gluttony) till March 10, as part of Adelaide Fringe. Book your tix here.
Content trigger warnings Sexual assault, rape, self-harm, homophobic actions.