Damon Manns & Elijah Williams

Posted by & filed under Arts & Entertainment, Theatre & Performance.

Violent homophobia in Uganda is realistically resonated in this powerful and emotionally charged award-winning stage play, written by English playwright Chris Urch and initially performed in England.

In a country where homosexuality is unlawful, punishable by life in prison and even the death penalty until recently, the community is encouraged to oust members of the public whom they suspect of committing “carnal knowledge against the order of nature.”

Dembe (Elijah Williams) is an 18 year-old who is in love with Sam an Irish doctor (Damon Manns). Dembe is raging a war within himself. Should he follow his heart and let this relationship blossom in secret or follow the law and adhere to religious and family expectations and eventually marry a nice girl?

Urch has perfectly captured all the elements which convey the horrendous extremity of homophobic intolerance in a country which the Western World would classify as being senselessly barbaric and outdated.

Comedy overshadows the drama initially, as we are introduced to the characters and warm to the loving relationship blooming between Dembe and Sam. The darker elements progressively surface through the comic sequences, revealing complexities in the characters which lead to an unimaginable eruption of emotions on stage.

Harassment, intimidation, discrimination and murder are all suggested off stage. The intense and faultless performances from a talented ensemble cast will transport audiences to Uganda, where they will be in the middle of this brewing family turmoil.

Can homosexuals be good Christians? Is homosexuality an evil against the law of God? Is it a hypocrisy for the church to discriminate against homosexuals? More importantly does God judge us or do we judge ourselves?

The Rolling Stone is raw, confronting and pushes conservative theater aside. Hopefully audiences will have a new outlook on love and life. (MMo)

Until Jul 21. Seymour Centre, City Rd & Cleveland St Chippendale. $35-$42+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.seymourcentre.com