Director: Izzy Edwards
Writer: Isaac Verrall
Bi Bi Baileigh is one of five plays currently running in rep at the Kings Head Theatre as part of Boys! Boys! Boys!, a season exploring ‘what it means to be a boy’. The 45-minute solo show previously sold out at Brighton Fringe 2022 and is now making a well-earned debut in Central London; however this sexuality-focused show does little to address ‘manhood’ and therefore feels misplaced in this particular series of work.
This is not the fault of the production itself though: an entertaining and humorous walk through the life of Baileigh, a real Essex boy and self-proclaimed ‘queer queen (and proud of it)’. He has spent his early twenties working through his veterinary degree and, despite dreaming of a typical settled down life with a husband and kids, claims he is currently too busy for any kind of commitment. Yet a surprise encounter – the nature of which is not too difficult to unpack given the title of the show – throws his future plans and sense of identity into chaos.
As Baileigh, Isaac Verrall is a very likeable presence and an engaging storyteller. He interacts with the audience naturally and the entire experience feels a lot like a kiki with an old friend. Verrall commands the thrust space well and it is a credit to his ability that his performance consistently carries even in moments without a clear sightline. Verrall’s writing could perhaps be considered marginally stronger than his acting, due to small stumbles or drops in pace where the delivery falls slightly short of the script’s clear potential.
Despite its punny title, the content of the play is very nuanced, honest and heartfelt. Whilst there is no clear label determined for the protagonist –nor should there have to be – Bi Bi Baileigh provides much welcome representation of queerness beyond mono-sexuality. A particularly genuine moment sees Baileigh, who is used to having all of the answers, declare that people cannot claim to know who he is because he hasn’t figured it out himself yet.
Bi Bi Baileigh is short but sweet, brief but deep, and supplies a satisfying dose of queer exploration.
Runs until 10 September 2022