Love Song to Lavender Menace @ Summerhall

This isn't simply a love letter to the Edinburgh LGBT bookstore, it's an exposed piece about identity and the growth of communities from awakening to acceptance

Review by Dominic Corr | 30 Aug 2018

Time to shut up shop, bid farewell to friends, memories and what was more than a bookstore for so many. Lavender Menace, which developed from a bookstall on Broughton Street, was originated by LGBT pioneers, Bob Orr and Sigrid Nielsen. Now closing, worker Lewis and patron Glen are packing the store and capturing the glimpses in time seen from the store. 

Stand-up, dance, sing, read, shout and just arse around; literature is there to encourage conversation, spark creativity or at base level, educate. It doesn't do all of the legwork for you, just helps shift the mind into a few realisations. Love Song to Lavander Menace understands people, regardless of orientation, gender or sexual identity. What is performed isn't simply about a bookstore, it's about the people, relationships and importance of this city's history for a global community. 

Playwright James Ley's use of language has an ability to connect with deep-rooted desires, expressing them sublimely. Performed by Pierce Reid, shifting characters from primary cast to heterosexual married men to communicate this work's marvels, the script describes Lavender Menace as a beacon – never coercing, simply heralding changes as people would caress the railings to feel closer to their own true identity. It's as touching as it is well-executed.

Rejecting the usual love trope of two individuals, two men, Love Song instead harks to the love of humanity through literature; its ability when used correctly to encourage openness but also its corruption in tabloid attempts to sour. Humorous, poignant and excellently performed, Love Song to Lavender Menace is a production with longevity. It keeps you ravenous for more information, history, context and for more from our characters.

Love Song to Lavender Menace, Summerhall (Techcube 0), run ended

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