REVIEW: My Son’s A Queer (But What Can You Do?) Ambassadors Theatre ★★★★★

Playing at the Ambassadors Theatre until 1 April 2023

My Son’s A Queer (But What Can You Do?) is the joyous autobiographical story of social-media sensation Rob Madge. Following sold-out runs at the Turbine Theatre in 2021, Edinburgh Fringe and the Garrick Theatre in 2022, Rob Madge brings their triumphant musical celebration of the ups and downs of raising a queer child back to the West End in 2023 for this strictly limited season playing the Ambassadors Theatre.

My Son’s A Queer (But What Can You Do?) tells the story of Robs early years leading up to their starring turns as Gavroche in Les Misérables, Artful Dodger in Oliver! and Michael Banks in Mary Poppins. When Rob was twelve, they attempted a full-blown Disney parade in their house for their grandma. As Rob donned wigs and played Mary Poppins, Ariel, Mickey Mouse and Belle, their dad doubled as Stage Manager, Sound Technician and Goofy. Unfortunately, Dad missed all his cues and pushed all the floats in the wrong direction. Mum mistook Aladdin for Ursula. The costumes went awry. Grandma had a nice time, though.

Rob’s blend of conversational story telling accompanied by their own home videos makes the show instantly identifiable. This comedic, casual tête-à-tête style lets Rob’s personality shine and the audience immediately felt relaxed and wanting to go on the journey of the play. Through original songs and stories from Rob’s life, they perform with skill throughout, tackling bullying, growing up queer, discovering gender identity, family and finding a supportive community with a professionalism and grace of a seasoned performer.

Not only is My Son’s A Queer a joyous colourful touching coming of age story; it’s also an important, carefully constructed and written piece of positive queer representation with Rob leading the charge for positive change. A fight for acceptance and celebration of the queer community against an increasingly hostile climate. A defiant “battle cry”, My Son’s A Queer delivers the message to not be afraid to live authentically or to hide parts of yourself away in favor of societal standards. Seeing My Son’s A Queer as an adult is cathartic. However, the impact on young queer people seeing this show and experiencing the joint acceptance, love and appreciation the audience pours out at each performance is immeasurable.

My Son’s A Queer (But What Can You Do?) is a joyous love letter to being queer, Rob’s supportive and loving parents and having musical theatre as your whole personality. An example of queer joy, My Son’s A Queer (But What Can You Do?) is brimming with memorable songs, hilarious dialogue, touching moments that will produce tears of sadness but also bring out tears of pure joy and understanding. Madge’s show is a very special inspirational account of a young life lived unapologetically, something we can all learn from at any age.

Reviewed by Stuart James