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Love Song to Lavender Menace

Cast your mind back to 1982 - Margaret Thatcher sends the British Fleet to the Falklands, Channel 4 comes to the living room and Prince William is born, but this play has nothing to do with all that. This play is about activism, community and fighting for acceptance with words, music, humour and heart. Read more …

On Edinburgh’s Forth Street, two friends Bob and Sigrid are opening their new lesbian, gay and feminist bookshop, ‘Lavender Menace’. A trailblazing venture that will become the beating heart for Edinburgh’s LGBT+ community.

Now on the eve of the shop’s 5th birthday, sales assistants Lewis and Glen take a look back at its origins, its importance, its celebration of queer culture, how things have changed for the better (maybe) ... and straight away, the arguments begin!

Love Song to Lavender Menace is a beautifully funny and moving exploration of the love and passion it takes to make something happen and the loss that is felt when you have to let it go.

The critical consensus

Ley has written a thoroughly entertaining play that’s chock full of local references but ones informed by wider and bigger issues.

****(*)Irene Brown, Edinburgh Guide, 14/10/2017

Occasionally the action becomes oddly unfocused like a series of interconnected sketches, yet clearly there is a little piece of theatre magic here screaming and clawing to come out.

***(*)(*)Ken Wilson, The Wee Review, 14/10/2017

This provides a platform for a joyous exploration of queer literature and local queer history, reminiscing about the night club Fire Island on Princes Street, flirtations with Tales of the City author Armstead and sex with burly 'Burgh bobbies. It is a high energy, hilarious romp.

Seth Ewin, British Theatre Guide,

This one of a kind play manages to at once be the perfect introduction to the most basic LGBTQ+ issues, brilliantly illustrated through well-written, relatable characters and a nuanced retelling of the complex emotional and political issues facing Edinburgh’s queer community today, captured through an outrageous, sexy lens.

*****Emily Hall, The Reviews Hub, 15/10/2017

The Communards punctuate the soundtrack to James Ley’s funny new play celebrating the Edinburgh bookshop that was a lifeline for the gay community.

***(*)(*)Mark Fisher, The Guardian, 17/10/2017

Both performers are funny, clever, and full of vigour.

***(*)(*)Paul F Cockburn, Broadway Baby, 17/10/2017

If director Ros Phillips and actors Pierce Reid and Matthew McVarish sometimes adopt a throwaway, diffident performance style that weakens the play’s pace and impact, this is still a play for our time that speaks volumes about cities and change, about the freedom they offer and the price they demand.

****(*)Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman, 16/10/2017

A few rough edges aside, the production itself is fun, endearingly performed and moving enough to make you long for your own time machine with the coordinates set for 1987 and a glimpse of the original Lavender Menace.

***(*)(*)Allan Radcliffe, 21/10/2017

A vital reminder of where culture and community come from. It also highlights why the grassroots that sired Lavender Menace and other places like it need to not only be celebrated, but reclaimed and reimagined loud and proud for future generations to come.

Neil Cooper, Coffee-Table Notes, 24/10/2017

Features about Love Song to Lavender Menace

James Ley--Love Song to Lavender Menace

Neil Cooper, Coffee-Table Notes, 13/10/2017

Where and when?

Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh from Thursday October 12, 2017, until Saturday October 21, 2017. More info:

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