Set in the bedrooms of both characters, Elliot, a teenager from a conservative Christian Background and Dana, a 39 year old, both go on a journey of discovery about themselves.
The strongest part of the production is the characterisations of Dana and Elliot, who you get a strong impression of during the 45 minute run. Through soliloquys, phone conversations and the occasional moments where the two interact, you see them struggle through their own personal crises involving friends, their sexuality, and battling with the norms society has established for them. Through these characters, the writers explore the complex and often confusing process of questioning your sexuality.
The rare occasions the characters do interact are powerful and interesting as they seem to want the best for each other but are both in different places in their lives and from different backgrounds. This makes them seem at odds when they are actually not. This can be seen in the way that both characters attempt to come to terms with their sexuality. Dana seems unphased by the fact that she likes women. She is not trying to discover her place on the spectrum of sexuality but rather her place in queer relationships. Elliot on the other hand, is not in the place to understand that his attraction to men is acceptable. Both are struggling with internalised biphobia, with Elliot’s more obviously stemming from religious belief while Dana’s comes from our society’s views on heteronormativity, when people are supposed to find out they are queer and how, and what relationships between two queer women should look like.
The production is called The B in the Room without the word bisexual ever explicitly said in the show. This is unexpected but disappointing, especially considering the state of bi-erasure in the media. Perhaps this was intentional; there was bisexual lighting (Blue, Purple Pink) at the start and end of the play, so perhaps subtlety was more the aim. Part of biphobia stems from the lack of understanding that bisexuality it is a legitimate sexuality so it is just confused with being straight or gay. This means that bisexuality is barely ever explicitly referenced especially in media desire being a significant minority in the LGBT+ community.
However, the production ends abruptly and leaves you wanting a clear resolution to the themes presented, especially in terms of how Elliot comes to terms with his religious identity, his sexuality and how he wants his Christian community to be a safe space to explore his feelings about this. The audience is left wondering whether he ever gets to understand his sexuality, if he leaves the church or is able to find affirmative religious queer spaces.
All in all, this production is an interesting study of two characters aiming to understand themselves in the context of the society they live in, while in a bedroom. Although, it could have tied its central themes together more effectively, it is still an enjoyable performance. However, as one of the few performances at the Fringe this year trying to start conversation around bisexuality, it leaves you wanting more.
The B in the Room
Paradise in the Vault (Venue 29)
Image: UCL Runaround