‘Hot pic mate, can I see more?’ Grindr: The Opera (an unauthorised parody) at Above The Stag Theatre

London’s Above The Stag Theatre has once again teamed up with Pride in London to bring you the UK premiere of Grindr: The Opera – An Unauthorised Parody, as an official event as part of the Pride Festival season. The show’s director, Andrew Beckett, explains all you need to know about this hilarious musical.

Hi Andrew, describe Grindr: The Opera to Boyz readers in one sentence? 

A hilarious spotlight on the murky world of Grindr, and the people, personalities and purposes within.

Tell us the basic set up. 

Grindr: The Opera puts the most notorious gay hook-up app into the exaggerated world of opera. The show is a comical look at the app that has changed the face of dating for gay men, as well as a parody of the genre of opera.

And what is the format of the show?

After a thousand years of slumber, Grindr is awoken by the creation of technology, and seeks to change the world of gay men as we know it. With much meddling and male manipulation, a spider’s web is woven and no-one can escape. In this form, we encounter several recognisable characters, who explore the spectrum between romantic love and fuck buddies that always deliver the goods. Without giving too much away, I can say the twists and turns take us on a rollercoaster of fun and emotions.

Can you tell us about the main character, Grindr, and the people it meets during the show? 

Grindr is an ancient and androgynous being that has the power and control to influence people’s love lives, starting with their sex lives. Think Aphrodite meets Frank-N-Furter. The characters we meet have all downloaded Grindr – guys like you and me; some just looking for right now, others searching for something more.

What can you tell us about the music? 

The score is fabulous and anyone hesitating over their opera credentials needn’t worry. It’s essentially a sung-through musical with styles ranging from baroque to contemporary pop.

And what about the cast? 

We’ve lucked out on this show. The cast needed to be vocally outstanding as the show is sung-through and we’ve found some of the most talented and versatile voices on stage. As well as outstanding voices, they all deliver perfectly while acting through song, from sidesplitting comic moments to poignant scenes exploring relationships and love.

How are you settling in to the rather swish new Above The Stag theatre? 

It’s amazing having so much space; our artistic director Peter was stuck in a store cupboard for three days trying to find the light switch. It’s so wonderful to have this facility to continue producing high quality LGBT work, and we’re really excited to show it off in every way we can. We’re about to open our first lesbian drama, The Penetration Play, and it’s great to have a state-of-the-art second space to do it in.

Grindr: The Opera is an official Pride in London event, why is that important for Above The Stag?

Grindr: The Opera is fabulous, and so is Pride; what’s not to love?! On a serious note, every year we look for more ways to widen our reach, to not only the LGBT+ community in London, but also further afield. We are constantly exploring opportunities to deepen our relationship with the gay community and Pride gives us an outstanding platform to let people know what we do and why we do it, alongside many incredible other charities and organisations that work so hard throughout the year. Above all else, Pride is a celebration of diversity, and what we do is all about celebration, and telling LGBT+ stories that, happy, sad, or sung-through, celebrate what it means to wave that rainbow flag. So look out for us on the main stage where you’ll get a sneak peek of Grindr: The Opera in all its glory.

Grindr: The Opera runs from 3 July until 26 August at Above The Stag Theatre, 72 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall, London, SE1 7TP.

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