A Review of Rent Party Peterborough

by Iqra Saeed

A dazzling on-stage party. A beautifully queer cast sharing their stories with us. Some will make you laugh, some will make you cry, and some will make you reflect. The audience are given cash (faux cash). After each segment of the show the respective cast member collects their payment, making it a more interactive experience.

The journey begins with Teddi The Drag Queen. There is mention of a niece who asks Teddi when they will find a wife. Upon hearing that this will not happen, she is unphased and moves on to a different subject entirely. Teddi then describes a vision they have of somewhere in outer space, which would be a complete safe space. Their story highlights the importance of holding space and what potential this would have.

Charley’s rhythmic words describe the complexities of navigating self-discovery whilst in a relationship. She speaks personally and transparently. How this can be surrogate self-discovery of their respective partner. It catalyses a train of thought regarding the labels we give ourselves. Honestly categorising ourselves, in theory should be freeing. Charley points out how this can trap us in boxes instead of enabling us.

Summer utilises movement instead of words, another vision of free expression. Her body sends a message of unapologetic female empowerment. The story told within the movement is open to interpretation, without being overly ambiguous. But that is what makes the story unique. It can have a slightly different meaning for each person.

Mark expresses gratitude for his accepting family. However, it does not eliminate other challenges such as self-acceptance. There is adversity, with or without support. Mark points out he is wearing false nails and make-up for the show, demonstrating that at times there is a certain fear, of presenting himself in a way that does not fit with a stereotype. He feels this way despite the support he has. Which underlines a bigger issue, within society itself.

Stewart shares his experience of being the only mixed-race child in a group of black siblings. He explains how the first time he was treated differently, his innocence meant he did not understand the connotation of what was said to him. He explains how sensitively his mother handled the situation. The weight of what this meant was what he carried more and more as his level of understanding increased as he became older.

Alex explains how she came out as transgender to a supportive family. However, this was later in life for her. She spoke of how friendships with others like herself were sacred. For some they were a lifeline when biological families turned their backs in shame and unacceptance. These friendships became strong family and replaced family too. All the way to the end.