Week One Reviews – The Kinghtly Quest

The Kinghtly Quest, Outhouse, until May 11th. Gore Vidal once wrote that “The Knightly Quest” (1966) was one of the finest stories ever written by Tennessee Williams. The Kafkaesque tale showcases Williams’s awareness of the potency of the sexual Other as the symbol of political resistance in a world verging on totalitarianism.

Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer (Cape Town, South Africa) have adapted the Gothic novella for the stage. And it’s an accomplishment which Williams fans and Queer Sci-fi admirers alike will relish. Meyer is mesmerizing in his embodiment of our antihero Gewinner Pearce, the fay returnee to a small American city where plans are afoot to annihilate any form of dissidence.  A mysterious industrial plant surrounded by barbed wire has sprung up where his father’s factory once stood. Nearby a garish fast-food chain serves drive-thru customers to the soundtrack of eternal, high-pitched laughter.  Gewinner rebels against the normative order through his nightly sexual cruising campaigns and his constant provocation of those he encounters, while all the time secretly plotting – thanks to a steady stream of carrier pigeons – the explosive downfall of the regime.
There are current-day parallels aplenty in this thickly-plotted tale of politics, power and oppression. The audience are treated to a rare opportunity to languish in the language of a Tennessee Williams short story, masterfully brought to life by acting and staging that is both vivid and tender, by turn. Irreverent, sensual and witty – this is a show well worth making your way to the inviting surroundings of Outhouse on Capel Street to see, before it ends Saturday May 11.


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