Sodom and Begorrah
Lovely review by Michael Billington of Frank McGuinness’s new play about Michael MacLiammoir and Hilton Edwards, the gay couple who dominated Irish theatrical life in my boyhood.
“McGuinness is not simply writing a paean to the past. He is also exploring the symbiotic link between gayness and theatre. At one point, Conrad [the MacLiammoir character] recalls that the pioneering youthful dream of himself and Gabriel [Edwards] was that “we shall conceive a child in Sodom”.
That is exactly what MacLiammoir and Edwards did. The oldest Dublin theatre joke is that, with the Gate devoted to a gay fin-de-siècle aesthetic and the Abbey to rural Irish naturalism, the city’s two playhouses offered a choice between “Sodom and Begorrah”. But theatre itself, McGuinness implies, becomes for gay men and women a surrogate form of procreation: the only tragedy lies in the medium’s inherent impermanence. ”