Love Song To Lavender Menace

On the surface, Love Song To Lavender Menace is about the struggle for acceptance which is explored through the relationship between Lewis, Glen and their beloved LGBT bookshop, Lavender Menace is underscored by the blooming gay rights movement. While the play is set in Edinburgh, the struggle to take up space in a homophobic environment world will resonate with LGBT people everywhere. Chock-full of cultural references from the 1980’s, this play reflects the memories for many gay men who lived through an era fuelled by sexual politics, backrooms, AIDS and Sony Walkmans. 


The casting was perfect. If you imagine a tall Ryan Phillippe but with an outgoing personality, you’ll get Pierce Reid. In his quest to find a relationship, he falls in love with Greg (excellently played by Matthew McVarish), a party bear, who also becomes his business partner. To Lewis, The Lavender Menace is more than a bookshop, it’s a sexual/political statement which drives much of his behaviour, and ultimately brings their relationship to a crossroads in which the relationship, as well as the bookstore, are called into question. Reid and McVarish also play several other roles relevant to the story, switching accents and mannerisms flawlessly.



Can UK’s first LGBT bookstore survive a city that wants to see it erased? It’s through these questions that Greg and Lewis give us outstanding performances. Smart stage direction, combined with two actors fully committed to their roles made for an intimate and rich experience. The set, lights, props were all bare-bones minimum but were cleverly used as a mechanism to time-shift us deeper into their realities. Has Greg settled for Lewis as a boyfriend? Will the bookshop contribute to a revolution, or is it fated to disappear into history?

If you remember pacing back and forth in front of a gay bookstore trying to raise the guts to finally walk in, you will instantly relate and should see this show.

Playing from November 13th – December 4th, 2018.

Love Song To Lavender Menace
SoHo Playhouse
15 Vandam St, NYC

By Raymond Helkio

Raymond Helkio is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design, whose work has been shown at international film, theatre, and design festivals including Inside Out Film Festival, Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, Design Exchange, Videofag, Art Gallery of Ontario, Glad Day Bookshop, Artscape and Nuit Rose.