Harvey Fierstein’s landmark drama Torch Song Trilogy shocked many when it premiered in 1982. Now, almost 35 years later, this autobiographical tale is primarily seen as a portrait of the lead character’s rocky journey towards a stable family life and some type of resolution of his relationship with his mother.
Simply put, the TotoToo Theatre production, directed by Sarah Hearn, is powerful and moving. The play — actually three one-act plays depicting three different stages in drag queen Arnold’s life — belies its immense length both because of the quality of the performances and the well-maintained rhythm throughout.
There are appropriately ugly moments, such as the simulated sex in the dimly lit back room. There are many gentle connections, between lovers and between parents and children. There are flashes of humour, anger, sorrow and yearning. This is a rounded picture of a life by the man who also wrote the books for the stage musicals La Cage Aux Folles and Kinky Boots.