New queer Aussie musical to challenge local audiences
Published on 16 February 2023
Breaking up is hard to do? Try coming out as a queer teenager! Or not. That’s the dilemma for two best-friends who decide to be each other’s beards instead.
What’s a beard you ask? It’s a way to conceal one’s identity. In this case, those best friends, Bet and Ace pretend to date one another as a cover for their queerness. Of course, this doesn’t work for long as revelations about self and other arise. Truth always finds a way, and in this play, in the most delightful and hilarious way.
Supported by an Artist Project Grant from Frankston City Council, Bearded is a new Aussie queer musical coming to the Frankston Art Centre for a limited season in March. In it, writer/director, peninsula-based writer Nick Waxman and musician/lead actor, Sean Donehue have created a theatre piece that is truly original – a funny, sharp, insightful, reflective play that is pure joy to watch and offers something for everyone.
“Bearded is about family given and chosen. It’s a celebration of community. The show might help some people come out, which despite ‘progress’, isn’t really any easier than in decades past. The play’s insight will change perceptions. For some it will be affirming, for others it might be confronting and some may come to a ‘Jesus moment’, but in the end, the show is just fun,” says Nick.
Camp and catchy, funny and ironical, this play will challenge preconceived notions about sexuality, gender, language labels, religion and privilege. Bearded follows the lives of two young people trying to figure themselves out – to discover, express and accept themselves – as all people have to do when coming of age.
Sean’s musical versatility means everyone will walk away from the play with a song in their heart and a skip in their step. From snazzy show tunes to dance club beats and everything in between, there’s sure to be something each audience member can personally connect to - musically, lyrically, spiritually.
While Bearded puts a mirror up to where we stand as a society on identity, queer or otherwise, the play’s message is universal. It’s about love, family and hope. It takes the audience on a journey touching on all the emotions. While it will infuse the audience with laughter, it doesn’t shy away from hard issues such as, queer-phobia, hate, tokenism, gaslighting, toxic positivity and queer misrepresentation.
“This show has been transformational for audiences of all kinds. They’ll walk away feeling buoyed and uplifted. I think they will change how they live their lives. It’s really a story about accepting and articulating who you are. We created Bearded as a musical because the world we wanted to create was musical. We wanted colour, light, sharing and community,” says Nick. They have certainly delivered.
Bearded: The Musical will be performed at Frankston Arts Centre’s Cube 37 from March 1-3. Tickets available here or by calling Box Office at 03 9784 1060.
ANDREA LOUISE THOMAS