Gypsy Queen, 5 Stars

Gypsy Queen
Kings Head Theatre
30th Aug to 23rd Sept 2017

“Can two men raised to fight ever learn to love?

The story of ‘Gorgeous’ George O’Connell: traveller, bare-knuckle fighter, hero to his people and Gypsy King. George leaves this life behind and enters the world of professional boxing, which puts him on a collision course with his roots, his identity and his greatest fear.

In the opposite corner, gay boxer Dane ‘The Pain’ Samson, the young pretender and son of a boxing legend. But Dane is fighting his own battles and they will ultimately lead to a tragedy that neither man could predict.

Two men who find themselves, and each other, in the most unlikely of worlds. ‘Gypsy Queen’ is an unconventional love story between two fighters who discover the greatest challenge lies outside the ring.

‘Gypsy Queen’ is the new play by Rob Ward, co-writer of one-man show ‘Away From Home’ that toured nationally and internationally between 2013 and 2016, picking up critical acclaim and several awards including Manchester Theatre Awards for Best New Play and Best Fringe Performance.”


Both the story and the acting in “Gypsy Queen” are outstanding! Realistic and believable it’s easy to see why it was the sell out success at the Edinburgh Fringe this year! Now with a short run at the Kings Head Theatre it’s a must-see show! Tackling issues such as homophobia in sport, in this case, boxing, it results in self-destructive behaviour, self-hatred and the inability to form a healthy sexual and loving relationship with someone of the same sex. “Georgeous George, the Gypsy King” goes to some lengths to avoid being name-called the Gypsy Queen! While “Dane the Pain Samson,” may be known to be gay but it’s a “don’t ask, don’t tell” situation full of danger! In a World that challenges whether to be brave or is this just stupid and the consquences of being true to oneself.

Performed over the top of another production, “Outlaws to Inlaws”, the lighting by Owen Rafferty uses a lighting rig by Tim Lutkin and the Set by Merrill Pym suffers a little in that the back wall is a little out of place. However, very clever use of a few pieces of furniture, fabrics and many costume changes clearly telegraph where we are and what’s going on. Creativity wins over in this production!

The characterisations from each of the actors are distinct, precise and quite brilliant! Ryan Clayton playing Dane, Rose, Connor, Ivy and Vic is an extremely versatile actor while Rob Ward plays George, Josh, Andy and Vic with incredible finesse and polish. As each character returns on their spiral journeys we instantly welcome them back and enjoy the next chapter of their stories. It is a 2-hander but feels like a cast of many more – all credit to the actors for this achievement.

Rob Ward, as well as performing in this piece, also wrote it. He’s also a co-producer! Definitely a tour de force to the UK theatre landscape and someone to follow!

Gypsy Queen is a must-see production but only showing until 23rd Sept so don’t delay getting tickets!

Follow the tour on twitter @GypsyQueenTour
or online

Future tour dates:
Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester, 25th-­‐30th September 2017