Queer Bathroom Monologues (Libido Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

Queer Bathroom Monologues is based on a book called Queering Bathrooms by Sheila Cavanagh which includes 100 interviews with LGBT and/or intersex peoples in major North American cities. This means it had quite the potential be a bunch of talking heads but I wasn’t afraid because I knew it was dramaturged by Alistair Newtown. Newton’s work with Ecce Homo Theatre company is always derived directly from historical and other text and records so he is well acquainted with livening such material up for the stage.

The two main tactics are humour and movement and both are present in Queer Bathroom Monologues. The subject matter obviously lends itself to a fair bit of “toilet humour”, though I have to say, for the number of times the word “shit” was used the humour was still pretty refined.

In a way I feel that that’s because it was humour for a queer (and queer positive!) audience. Obviously that’s the demographic drawn to such a show and Libido Productions knows it. Sometimes I felt that made a lot of the educational aspects more didactic than they would be with a more uninitiated audience. Here and there I felt they were proselytizing on the need for gender neutral washrooms and I was thinking “we’re all queer in here, we know, we know.”

Which is why the inclusion of one monologue from the perspective of a gay man who wanted to agree with gender neutral washrooms but was having a hard time dealing with it was extremely important. Because that was the lesson I needed to learn.

In case I haven’t made it obvious, it’s very artsy. The set is a toilet on a raiser and two gigantic stick figures of the classic “male” and “female” bathroom signifiers. Toilet paper is joyously strewn about the stage and toilet brushes substitute for various props, most usually microphones.

If this sounds like something you’d like, I recommend it. If this sounds like something that would be challenging for you, I also recommend it. We queers can’t keep preaching to our same old choir.

– Queer Bathroom Monologues plays at Venue 10, Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, 16 Ryerson Avenue

– 90 min.
Wed, July 6 10:30 PM 1003
Sat, July 9 7:30 PM 1017
Mon, July 11 3:00 PM 1028
Tue, July 12 8:30 PM 1037
Wed, July 13 2:00 PM 1040
Thu, July 14 10:30 PM 1052
Sun, July 17 4:30 PM 1069

– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $10+$1 convenience fee)

– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows