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A They in the Manger | Camden's People Theatre

A They in the Manger is a performance piece that takes you on a journey through what life is like for those of the queer community and is the first commissioned piece from Wardrobe & Sons. This piece of work incorporates performers across all means of performance inclduing cabaret, live art, theatre, drag, comedy and pole work industries. 

There are four performers who tell their story in this piece of Work. An0maly, a transgender pole dancer, Danielle James, an Irish playwright and actress, Len Blanco, drag king, theatre maker, and musician, and Vijay Pital, a performance artist, writer and neurodivergent access consultant. Each of these performers share a piece of their story with the audience within the 60 minute runtime A They in the Manger has. Performed in Camden's People Theatre, the audience feels as if they are a part of the story as it's a small, but intimate, venue. 

The performance begins with performers being a part of the nativity scene through costume and dance. We are then met with the first performer, Len Blanco, who gives us a comedy skit about their experience being a queer artist and musician. We are then met by Danielle James, who gives us vocals through a traditional Irish son and then goes on to give a beautiful monologue about music, and what that means to them and their journey being a queer artist. We are then given a very well thought out pole dance routine underscored by a prerecorded monologue from An0maly.

Len Blanco comes back to host an audience participation game that gets two audience members to roast each other, foreshadowing what it would be like to be queer with a family that may not be accepting. The last performance is of Vijay Patel sharing a video about what they want out of life being queer - simply to be happy and be allowed to be their true and authentic self. The show finishes with the cast performing a lip sync of the smash hit Xanadu.

Though the theme of Christmas is the common thread that strings these stories together, it is very unclear to the audience as to what about Christmas is related to each individual story. The only things that give a Christmas vibe is the opening sequence where each character represents a piece of the nativity, a couple of Christmas decorations, and one of the characters using tinsel in their set. Aside from these things, there is no correlation to Christmas and the hurt, pain and even joy queer persons experience during the holiday season.

Aside from Christmas, each of these stories are so unique and tailored to the specific artist. You truly are given a small glimpse in their stories and are given a chance to be with them and listen. It allows for time to reflect on your own self and how you treat those that are dealing with the same issues and pressures. You will leave the theatre glad that these stories are being told and long for more stories like this. 

A They in the Manger is currently running at Camdens People’s Theatre until 15th December. There is also a captioned performance on the 12th of December. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Clémence Rebourg


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