Beautiful Thing: The ’90s are now “period”

    Beautiful Thing was groundbreaking when it exploded onto the stage in 1993. Much of this has to do with the prejudices and misunderstandings about young gay love and working class life that are dispelled in the play and these are themes that are still topical and resonate today.

    However one thing that cannot be ignored in any production is the time period of the play, which is so conclusively and firmly rooted in the early nineties, when it was written. Cultural references to that period are peppered throughout the text and inform a lot of the humour that comes from watching a production today. In her second blog from the rehearsal room, Assistant Director Sally Wippman tells us how the spirit of the nineties is being kept alive in our production.

    From the Spice Girls to shell suits, the 1990s conjure a certain nostalgia, surprising for a decade that doesn’t seem all that far away. In rehearsals, we have started with the text of the play and gradually incorporated props, shoes, clothing, set pieces, and more to take us back to those times.

    That means that now, one week until our first preview performance, what started simply with the language fads of the nineties that are written into the script has developed into more well-remembered images. High-top shoes, gold hoop earrings, floral patterns, platform heels, patterned duvets, are just a few of the tactile elements that will catapult the audience back in time to 25 years ago. It’s amazing to see how each and every addition to our rehearsal space makes the story sit more comfortably in 1993.

    The most recent word on the estate is that we might see a curtains-style haircut.


    Beautiful Thing runs at Tobacco Factory Theatres from Thu 11 – Sat 27 October. To find out more and book, visit the main show page.

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