The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs: Review
“Out there we struggle to accept ourselves, but in here with people like us, we can accept each other,” The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs
On now at Soho Theatre is The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs written by Iman Qureshi and directed by Hannah Hauer-King in association with Damsel Productions is an explosion of joy and inclusivity. This musical-comedy about a choir made up of lesbians and queer women is a witty, fun and heart-warming take on what it means to be a queer woman today.
In the lead up to Pride month, we often find ourselves wondering how Starbucks and HSBC have more pride than we do. Where are the spaces designated for lesbian, queer and trans women? After pondering this question herself, Qureshi decided she would create one herself; one that was fun, inclusive and empowering.
The play revolves around a diverse group of women who come together every week to sing in the choir, led by the fabulous Connie (played by Shuna Snow). Connie is so fabulous in fact that some audience members want to open a queer bar and call it Connie’s! This stellar ensemble cast is truthful and honest to the range of diversity depicted in the piece. We meet Laurie (Kibong Tanji), Ana (Claudia Jolly), Dina (Lara Sawalha), Fi (Kiruna Stamell), Bridge (Mariah Louca) and Ellie (Fanta Barrie) as they navigate the choir, their love lives and friendships. All the while, Fayez Baksh plays a variety of different men.
The dialogue is witty and punchy, but Qureshi is unafraid to tackle complicated subjects. With an explosion of opinions unfolding on Twitter surrounding trans rights and female spaces, through watching this play the audience is forced to hear both sides of the argument. Whilst it may be uncomfortable for some to watch, they will undoubtedly leave having learnt something new.
For many people watching this show, it will be the first time they’ve seen themselves on stage, the first time they’ve felt at home at the theatre.
Iman Qureshi, Hannah Hauer-King and this fabulous cast have not only created a space for lesbians and queer women to feel safe and seen, but they have also made choirs cool again!