Little Johnny’s Big Gay Musical

Little Johnny’s Big Gay Musical

Mad about the boy

Glasgay! welcomes back Johnny McKnight for another song and dance extravanganza in Little Johnny’s Big Gay Musical. Sandra Marron investigates

Random Accomplice’s Julie Brown and Johnny McKnight have resurrected the loveable, if diminutive anti-hero of Little Johnny’s Big Gay Adventure, the deserved hit of Glasgay! in 2005. This time out they bring us an all-singing, all-dancing escapade as Little Johnny’s Big Gay Musical sashays, taps and vogues its way onto the Arches stage.

Little Johnny [aka Johnny McKnight] once again takes to the stage and opens up about all the ups and downs and laughter and tears of his life, all of which is wrapped up snugly inside his trademark wit and humour. This time McKnight will be warbling and bopping his way through a turbulent three decades on earth or, as he puts it: ‘From my mother trying to kill me in the womb with the umbilical cord to turning 30.’

While the execution and subject matter is similar to his last adventure, he feels this show is probably much more personal than its predecessor. ‘If the last show was the True Blue album, this is my American Life,’ he says. ‘I’m trying to be more personal. What stories should I choose and how can I tell them best? There’s a lot in there: my heterosexual life until I was 24, being a teenage boy with a breast obsession and all my old love letters to a girl. It’s a bit weird. I think that every letter starts with “I was just listening to Barbra Streisand and . . .”’

The inspiration for this show came from a teenage list of his that surfaced a few years ago, which featured 15 things he wanted to achieve by the end of that year. The show is a celebration of the fact that he still hasn’t managed to succeed in doing any of the things on that list. According to McKnight: ‘Sometimes you don’t manage to achieve everything that you want to in life; the show goes through a few of those things: my failed threesome, the fact I’ve never had a proper relationship except with my ex-girlfriend and also that I’ve never broken anyone’s heart. It all sounds a bit depressing but it’s totally a comedic celebration of the traditional Scottish mentality, where being a failure is actually a good thing.’

The show is jammed full of dance routines and singing. The lyrics are just as important as the spoken word pieces but learning the dance routines hasn’t been so easy for young Johnny. ‘To be fair, though, I am a terrible dancer unless I’m out at the Polo Lounge, and then I give Britney a run for her money.’

The success of the first show was somewhat of a surprise to the company. They were worried that, other than a small gay audience, nobody else would care about the subject matter or, as McKnight puts it: ‘A wee guy from Ardrossan standing on stage and talking about Madonna and his love life.’

He does feel, however, that perhaps it was Johnny’s honesty which led people to tap into the show. ‘I think that’s what theatre is about and that’s what myself and Julie try to do with the company. Let’s tell it like it is and not hide behind aspirations and what we could be like.’

The Arches, Glasgow, Wed 31 Oct–Sat 3 Nov.

Little Johnny's Big Gay Musical

Confessional theatre, stand-up comedy and the golden age of the Hollywood musical are combined in this glittering celebration of one man's glorious failure.