Most theatre shows come down to a question of taste: some like it, some don’t –it’s all a matter of opinion. But every so often a show comes along that everyone thinks is special, that has everyone in agreement. Scorch, coming to Contact this May, is one of those shows.
A one-woman piece written by Northern Irish playwright Stacey Gregg, Scorch tells the tale of Belfast teenager Kes (played by Amy McAllister). Kes, like many adolescents, is trying to establish her own identity. But for Kes that’s a hard task, as norms around gender and sexuality don’t seem to fit who she is.
To find out more about herself, Kes pretends to be a boy and begins a relationship with a girl. It’s no big deal: after all, people do just that in chat rooms all the time. But unlike online life, where you can remain anonymous, for Kes the consequences of her actions become very, very real.
Gender identity is an issue whose time has finally come, and that’s why Scorch has struck such a chord. In the past three years alone trans referral for young people has increased threefold; no longer is it okay to simply view gender as black and white without any shades of grey.
An important story vividly told, Scorch is one of the most impressive pieces of theatre you’ll see this year.