Philip Venables

Press coverage of Faggots and their Friends at Manchester International Festival

4 July 2023 - news

The Faggots and their Friends Between Revolutions‘ received its world premiere on 29th June 2023 at HOME Theatre as part of Manchester International Festival. There were some notable previews in The Guardian and the New York Times and an introductory essay by Patrick O’Connell. Audiences and Critics alike responded positively to the show; here are some press excerpts:

“its meld of music, dance, and opera transcends the form into something magical.” — Lost in Theatreland (5 stars)

“This masterpiece does not rewrite history, it radically retells it… Prepare for passion, poignancy and pithiness… this show is bursting with joy throughout.” — Manchester Evening News (5 stars)

“An exquisite, revolutionary riot with a cavalcade of queer talent calling out the need to fight for queer joy and not to assimilate… The Faggots and Their Friends is a powerful reminder to keep fighting for queer joy and resist living the status quo in a heavenly punk opera for all.” — To Do List (5 stars)

“At times chaotic but never less than virtuosic, Philip Venables’ take on Larry Mitchell’s 70s manifesto is gritty but sensual and extravagant… served up with such raw energy and panache, it’s also irresistibly, unforgettably compelling.” — The Guardian (4 stars)

“Larry Mitchell’s 1977 cult book The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions – part queer manifesto, part fable – explodes into life in Philip Venables and Ted Huffman’s exhilarating stage version. It’s as resistant to easy classification as its source material, blending theatre, opera, movement and music… Venables’ distinct, original music is also key to the narrative momentum: dramatic strings convey the violence of the men; soaring arias capture the community’s sorrow or yearning; a solo on the cello or violin distils a mood. There’s a baroque vibe, with a theorbo and a harpsichord alongside flutes and harps, but the music can be anarchic, audacious and a lot of fun, too. One song about how much the men love paperwork shifts from the cast rhythmically scrunching sheets of paper to a flurry of salsa and into an accordion-led music-hall-style knees-up… a genuinely fresh and distinctive new work that gladdens the heart.” — The Stage (4 stars)

“this piece has a directness and a lyrical memorability that is compelling. Sometimes it might be a single instrument — a harp, a cello, a fiddle — hauntingly underscoring the voice. Elsewhere he ramps up all available resources in rambunctious, stamping dances that evoke one of those wild Balkan bands in full cry.” — The Times (4 stars)

“The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions is unlike anything else being shown today… One moment, it is eerie and heartbreaking, the next it is joyous and stirring… Radical and playful, The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions brings together theatre, dance and song for the ultimate anarchic bedtime story.” — I love Manchester.

“the world’s history as seen by the faggots becomes an opera, a rave, a political rally cry, a court dance, a bard’s ballad, a revolution in the making. — Northern Soul (4 stars)

Photo by Tristram Kenton.

› tags: HOME Manchester / Manchester International Festival (MIF) / Press / Reviews / Ted Huffman / The Faggots and their Friends Between Revolutions /