Lost in Fairyland

Reviewed by Gabriel Hershman

The A Portada Theatre Group recently presented Lost in Fairyland, written by Andrew Biss, a two-hander about the relationship between an openly gay man, Warren (Simon Tancott), and a “bisexual”, Aldous (David McClellen).

Director Priscilla Morgan told me about the background to the play. “Andrew is a young English playwright. He wrote the play because he felt he had to do it, not initially with the aim of public consumption. I was attracted to the play because I thought it was marvellously written.”

In Biss’s own words: “Lost in Fairyland reminds us that gay (and straight, and in between) comes in all varieties, and that sexual preference need not be the only or main way that a person defines himself or herself.”

Both Simon Tancott and David McClellen, in their fourth and third performances for the A Portada group respectively, exuded a dynamic stage presence in this play exploring the ambiguity of sexuality.

Warren is a hustler who would rather be straight and Aldous, a newly married man, pays him weekly visits. But Aldous reacts with indignation when Warren describes him as gay, calling Warren a “pansy” and later feigning outrage at the rampant antics in a gay nightclub. Warren berates Aldous for not “coming out”, but, for Aldous, his homosexual encounters are just the result of fleeting “urges”. Warren, on the other hand, is very much “out” but denies Aldous’ assumption that he “belongs” in the world of gay clubs, claiming it’s just an aspect of his existence, no more. This was an insightful play with a lot to say about the fundamental murkiness of sexuality.

Also making an appearance at Paderne’s Casa do Povo last Saturday was singer and actress Anita Harris, a friend of Priscilla and her husband, Clive Dunn, for over 40 years and still active in show business. “We’ve shared the stage at the London Palladium,” Anita told me. “My husband Mike and I are buying a place near Boliqueime. We get a warm glow every time we come to the Algarve.”

The A Portada Group’s next production will be Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads on Friday June 4 and Saturday June 5.