Venus as a Boy
Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 30 Oct–Sat 10 Nov
Tam Dean Burn is no stranger to Glasgay! and certainly no stranger to adapting explosive and controversial tales for the stage. After bringing Louise Welsh’s The Cutting Room as part of the festival two years ago, Luke Sutherland’s bestseller Venus as a Boy gets the Dean Burn treatment this time round. It’s a welcome return for Dean Burn to Glasgay! as the idea to tell the tale of the Orkney boy’s life and sexual journey is actually tied in with the festival. After The Cutting Room, he was eager to find something else to do, something with a similar feel.
‘I’d just got back to London straight after Glasgay! and in the New Year edition of Time Out they said this was the book to look out for. It sounded really intriguing, about this guy who, if you had any sort of level of sex with him whatsoever, it was divine. So that was the initial trigger with it.’
The story of Cupid may be controversial but the overall response to the show has been enthusiastic, wherever it has been performed. ‘There is just something about it,’ says Dean Burn. ‘It seems to tap into things. Lots of people find it quite emotional. I don’t really know fully what it brings to the surface but it certainly seems to do that. Somehow it’s presented in a way that people are finding acceptable as well. They are not thinking it’s gratuitous or in-your-face. It’s just a steady transformation.’