Romeo is (thankfully) Not the Only Fruit
It is a truth universally acknowledged that all queer love stories must be told through the use of song, dance, and, in the case of Romeo is not the Only Fruit, a reminder of all the tropes plaguing queer romances in popular culture.
Performed at Brisbane Festival 2018, Romeo is Not the Only Fruit is a work created and directed by writer Jean Tong. Tong’s work plays on tropes prevalent to queer love stories in popular culture, in particular for lesbian couples. Whether it’s moving in together on the second date, parents who want their daughters to find a husband, or the infamous dead lesbians, Romeo is Not the Only Fruit reminds us of all the recognisable motifs of our favourite lesbian lovers against a nostalgic pop-art backdrop.
Focusing on the blossoming romance of neighbours Juliette and Darcy, Romeo is Not the Only Fruit employs a chorus of ‘Incompetent Dead Lesbians’ who strive to split the couple up before either lover dies. Throughout the performance, the chorus members regularly transition into secondary characters in their mission to tear Juliette and Darcy apart. What I found commendable was that each of the chorus members was able to present diverse and individual characters with each transition. No two of these secondary characters were alike, a fantastic achievement for the performers.
While the way the performers embraced their characters was fun to watch, the chorus scenes were sometimes confusing. There were moments I felt the chorus were having a conversation where the audience was not privy to the full context, which was disorientating and awkward. Though the scenes between Juliette and her family were entertaining for the characterisation of Juliette’s family, her mother and grandmother, and any person identifying as queer with a conservative parent will be able to relate. But what was truly enjoyable with this production was the music.
Presented as a musical romp, the musical numbers in Romeo is Not the Only Fruit are incredibly well-presented, with creative lyrics, fun choreography, and strong vocals. During scenes, I found myself eager for the next musical interruption, which were plentiful and never disappointing.
Romeo is Not the Only Fruit is a fun and overall enjoyable production that gains strength from not taking itself too seriously. But, before buying tickets, I recommend catching up on all your favourite queer characters: there may (or may not) be a couple of spoilers!
What: Romeo is Not the Only Fruit
Where: Theatre Republic — The Loft
When: Tuesday 18 September – Saturday 22 September
Price: $24 – $32
Images provided by Brisbane Festival 2018