Dumblebore is so Gay by Paul Davies. The Pleasance Theatre, London 4****. William Russell

Knowing about Harry Potter helps but this heart warming, funny and beautifully performed play about being young, gay, bullied and falling in and out of love rose above my comparative lack of knowledge about the Rowling saga. I have never read the books and gave up the films after the second one although somewhere or other I do know that Dumblebore, one of the wizards who taught Harry, came out of the closet.
Jack (Alex Britt) is gay, bullied at school and madly in love with Ollie (Max Percy), his best friend, who is not gay, or so he says. His best friend is Gemma (Charlotte Dowling) who, once she discovers, remains his best friend. Jack suffers all the agonies of growing up in a hostile world but, possessing a Time Turner, has several attempts at changing the course of history so that he and Ollie do become lovers after years of doing things when drunk they did not admit to the next day, he discovers Heaven and sexual freedom, loses Ollie, who also discovers there are more flowers in the garden tells his parents, who sort of understand, finds out just what a pioneer for gay rights Norman, the old man down the road who lived alone, was and embarks on living life as he wants to. The play premiered at the Vaults Festival in 2020 and for this short run – it ends on 26 September the original cast return. The Potter allusions delighted the press night audience even although they mostly mystified me but you don’t need to get them all to get to the heart of this deeply felt play. Britt as Jack has loads of gangling charm, Percy plays both Ollie and Jack’s Dad, and makes them believably different, while Charlotte Dowling is impressively versatile as everybody else.

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