Lovely reader, there is a new play on at the Soho Theatre and it has been written just for you! ‘The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs’ is the latest offering from award winning playwright Iman Qureshi and oh my, what a treat it is. Proudly queer, full of laugh-out-loud lesbian innuendo and heart wrenching all in equal measure. Boldly tackling multiple intersections of identity through a diverse and endearing ramshackle (lesbian) community choir. Aka ‘The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs.’
Exquisitely written, Qureshi champions the often side-lined or completely erased experience of queer women living in 21st century Britain and their quest for belonging, acceptance and love. The play follows the choir from recruiting new members, to the preparation for their biggest audition yet and the subsequent fall out surrounding that performance.
Ministry of Lesbian Affairs: The Characters
Masterfully directed by Hannah Hauer-King (Cofounder of Damsel Productions), each character is charming, relatable, warm and beautifully flawed. Here is a little run down of the cast and choir makeup.
Connie (Shuna Snow) is a self professed OWL (Older Wiser Lesbian), the long suffering founder, conductor and pianist of the choir. Her matriarchal care for the group shines through whether leading hilarious vocal warm up exercises or delivering life advice. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Connie recounts the history of the choir’s piano.
Fi (Kiruna Stamell) is an outspoken and witty alto that can only make choir practice if her ex-wife can have the kids. Each week she turns up hoping that the community hall has finally installed the long promised ramp. Fi is definitely the first to suggest post practice Pinot Grigio… well, when she has child care booked for the full evening.
Brig (Mariah Louca) is a high flying lawyer, attempting to leverage her top negotiating skills in an attempt to convince Connie to update a few of the choir’s song catalogue. Something that would help ready them for their big audition. She is kind and caring, looking out for the other choir members and hugely welcoming to each new member.
Lori (Kibong Tanji) has been dragged to the choir by her girlfriend Ana (Lori hates lesbians). At first, she is reluctant to even go inside but quickly evolves into one of the choir’s singing soprano stars and finds so much more than just a place to perform.
The play opens on a smutty but glorious lesbian inspired rework of The Sound of Music‘s ‘Favourite Things’ penned by Ellie (Fanta Barrie), the Ministry’s answer to The L Word‘s Shane. Delivering quippy and very cheeky insights throughout the performance, Ellie is always happy to meet new members and to um… show them the ropes?
Dina (Lara Sawalha) initially finds the choir through Lori, after not so subtly coming onto her whilst she is fixing her broadband. To begin with, Dina is desperately seeking someone (anyone) to hook up with and isn’t really interested in the singing at all. She is attempting explore her sexuality and meet other queer women as she is a married Qatari, currently living in the UK on her husband’s spousal visa.
Ana (Claudia Jolly) brings her girlfriend Lori along to the choir, to help them meet more queer woman and make more gay friends whilst championing the rights of bisexuals and attempting to always campaign for a fairer society.
‘The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs’ runs through until 11th June 2022. Book your tickets here. We promise, you will not be disappointed. Can’t make it or just can’t get enough of ‘The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs’ content? Check out our interview with Iman Qureshi here.
Happy viewing gang!
Team Nonchalant x x x