Expectations were high for Guy Henderson’s playwriting debut with theatrical production Queer House Rules! While settling into your seat at the Rumpus venue, the anticipation builds. You cannot help but wonder how this show is going to stand out from the crowd—how it will set itself a part from the festival’s colourful display of queer representation. Featuring an ensemble of home-grown talent, Queer House Rules! is a celebration of domestic queer identity and offers an insight into the hardships of sharing a living space with others.
The story revolves around a group of millennial housemates, Emily (Finty McBain), Daisy (Lilli Cheyne), Jamie (Jess Wong), and Brad (Aidan Moller). A seemingly regular morning in their humble abode turns into pandemonium after discovering they must prepare for a surprise inspection. As they begin to frantically tidy the house, each of them reflect on their identities, their unfulfilling careers, and the ties that keep them all together.
Queer House Rules! seems to be heavily inspired by some of television’s most beloved sitcoms, as it remodels their tongue-and-cheek qualities for the stage. This approach is a refreshing take on queer issues (at least to the local theatre scene), as it uses humour as a tool to educate and provide an insight into the lives of those who are often subjugated in mainstream discourse. While many queer-centred productions allow darker themes to be the driving force behind their show, Queer House Rules! is a breath of fresh air.
The chemistry between each of the characters is mesmerising to watch. They all seem to have such a strong rapport with one another. This is particularly noticeable towards the end when an argument breaks out, as there is still cohesion among the overlapping dialogue and heavy tension. While many actors would falter at this sudden change of pace, this group gained momentum and pulled it off flawlessly.
This show serves as a reminder that while queer people are united in the struggle of feeling unaccepted in a predominantly heteronormative society, each of them have a different story to tell. Queer House Rules! raises diverse LGBTQIA+ voices through descriptive dialogue exchanges. All of the characters have an opportunity to share their perspectives about living in this world, their existential concerns, and why it’s beneficial to surround themselves with those who share similar outlooks.
Queer House Rules! will exceed your expectations. In a nation that is riddled with uncertainty, this show shines the torch and gives hope through the power of comedy. It allows us to open our hearts, lower our guards, and appreciate the diverse perspectives of others. Henderson has done a stellar job with their playwriting debut, and their career can only continue to prosper.
Reviewed performance: 26 February 2020