21st Feb to 4th March 2023
Merboy is a semi-autobiographical play by writer and producer Liam Sesay about the sexual awakening of a mixed-race, queer boy. Peppered with 60s love songs, this heart-warming camp tale gives hope to anyone who doesn’t feel like they belong.
Merboy combines the fantasy world of fairy tale with the dramatic yearnings of 1960s girl band music from iconic groups including The Shangri-las, The Crystals and The Ronettes. While dealing with deep themes of gay shame, family honour, and self-worth through poetic verse, visual storytelling, and lip-synching.
This exciting new production is inspired by both the famous fairy tale and intimate letters from Hans Christian Anderson to his friend Edvard Collin. Merboy examines the echoes of cautionary tales told by parents to their children, as well as the dangers of loving too much.
“Marooned out at sea. and the greedy moon is fat. Fed by the tide to show far and wide That I have grown.” The fantasy world of fairy tale meets the dramatic yearnings of 1960s girl band music and the intense depths of gay shame in Merboy, a poetic and queer retelling of The Little Mermaid. Using verse, storytelling and lip-synching, Merboy tells the story of a sexual awakening of mixed heritage queer boy navigating school homophobia and the brutal complexities of gay scene. A musical chorus of drag sisters supports this fun romp into the true meaning behind Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale.
Review by Richard Lambert, 4 Stars
A rather fun Queer version of the Little Mermaid, who meets a rather oddball set of characters along the way. A sort of “Dreamgirls on Acid on the Yellow Brick Road”. It is a hoot! Clearly, the cast are all bonkers!
The Sound, the Lights and the Set are all fabulous! It isn’t a polished look, in fact it’s shabby chic and tacky – but absolutely works for MERBOY. What a fantastic team that put all this together. It is a story with a lot of heart and a lot of laughs.
Plenty of ideas that undoubtedly come from director Scott Le Crass keep this show moving along. A well written script with the lip-syncing numbers working better than the acapella. The rhyming couplets and poems all rather lovely.
The mistakes we all make on our journey seeking love will resonate with everyone who watches this delightful show.
Kemi Clarke (he/him) – Merboy
Yasmin Dawes (she/her) – Siren 1/Mother
Ralph Bogard (he/him) – Siren 2/ Sea Witch
Anthony Psaila (he/him) – Siren 3/ Sailor
Director: Scott Le Crass (He/Him)
Writer: Liam Sesay (He/Him)
Designer: Ica Niemz (He/They)
Sound Designer: Dinah Mullen (She/Her)
Lighting Designer: Joe Price (He/Him)
Movement Director: Carl Harrison (He/Him)
Photo credit: Claire Bilyard
Tuesday 21st February – Saturday 4th March 2023
Times: Tuesday – Saturday 7:30pm,
Matinee: 2:30pm – Saturday, 4pm – Sunday
Prices: £16 Standard, £13 Concession
Producer: Liam Sesay, Campfire Theatre