MTC Sumner Theatre
Until January 19
It is rare, almost unprecedented, to find homegrown political theatre with this degree of urgency and power on our main stages. The script for Gaybies has been finessed (although it needs further tightening) from interviews Dean Bryant conducted with 30 people - toddlers, teenagers, young adults, the middle-aged - all raised by gay parents.
A cast of 14, including last-minute drawcard Magda Szubanski, sits around a table under coloured light bulbs. The scene invokes the innocent air of a child's birthday party.
It's a strong text, effortlessly funny and wise, that speaks with many voices and one.
Gaybies makes you realise how diverse the experiences of rainbow families are. Some have adoptive children, some children from sperm donors, and some have kids born to a heterosexual marriage, with a parent (and in one case both parents) changing or discovering their sexuality anew later in life.
It's often terrifically funny and swift theatre. There are stacks of hilarious one-liners and droll observations (one child of lesbian parents can call out "Mum!" and not be sure who'll come running, while Christie Whelan and Virginia Gay are amusingly accurate as young kids).
Director Dan Clarke marshals the action into attractive shape, verbally and visually. The show begins with rapid-fire grabs that fly from actor to actor, opening into more extended dialogues and choric effects. Relaxing live songs are interspersed throughout.
The actors carry bound books around (a device to cover the two-day rehearsal period) but what struck me about the performances was how naturally talented the actors are, how convincing their instincts, how fresh the characterisation and delivery.
Gaybies strikes a potent blow in support of gay marriage and equal rights for rainbow parents, but it does so by insisting on the truth: GLBT people and their families are just as imperfect, and just as uniquely so, as everyone else.