Already closed | 1h 5m | Soho/Tribeca

Love Song To Lavender Menace

From 34 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Entertaining, Confusing

About the show

This comic and moving play about Scotland's radical, lesbian, gay, and feminist bookshop began in the cloakroom of Scotland's first gay nightclub. More…

In 1982, two friends Bob and Sigrid opened Lavender Menace on Edinburgh’s Forth Street. On the eve of the shop’s 5th birthday, sales assistants Paul and David take a look back at its origins, its importance, its celebration of queer culture, and how things have changed. An 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.

Part of Soho Playhouse's 2018 Fringe Encore Series.

Member Reviews (34)


Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Entertaining, Confusing
Avg Score

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You have an interest in LGBTQ issues, especially if you were around in the 80’s, or if you like small plays that say a lot with a little.

Don't see it if You have no interest in LGBTQ themed works or small shows working on a budget.

Clever, Delightful, Engaging, Great acting, Refreshing

See it if you'd like to see a poignant, playful homage to the 1st Scottish LGBT bookshop as told by 2 charming lads in a refreshing, original play.

Don't see it if you don't like 80s dance music; you have no interest in LGBTQ themes/history; you are completely unfamiliar with James Baldwin.

Also This was such a lovely surprise. It's a smart, literate & entertaining... Read more Read less

Funny, Touching, Political, Queer, Historical

See it if you'd like to have a laugh at the ways of gay boys in 1980s Edinburgh & at the same time learn something about an emerging culture.

Don't see it if you have American ears & are unwilling to make an effort to understand English with a Scottish accent, or are averse to homo history.

Also I loved this show & the 2 young men who performed it. It was very funn... Read more Read less

Confusing, Funny, Quirky, Ambitious, Great acting

See it if you want a window into 1980's gay history with a fun take that you may not be aware of or that may rekindle your feelings for that time.

Don't see it if you expect perfection as this is a fringe show, done fairly well with light props in a basic set. Scottish accents may interfere with grasp.

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Clever

See it if Two Scots bond over gay lit and the demise of their book shoppe. Necessary long monologues to develop closeted counter character. Smart.

Don't see it if Two actors playing five characters aren't distinct enough and that leads to time shift confusion. Stereotypes. Simple set. Gen Adm.

Confusing, Great acting, Slow, Quirky, Relevant

See it if You have an interest in LGBTQ+ history. You want to see 2 great performances. You want an inspirational story.

Don't see it if You don't like stylized and/or meta storytelling: while I liked the message & performances, this style was confusing & hard to really get.

I just didn’t get this

See it if You want to see two actors telling a love story that goes back and forth in time

Don't see it if You are looking for something other than a very low production blackbox show that as part of a festival

Also I am at a loss for words hear. I didn’t think either of the actors wer... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Confusing, Quirky, Refreshing, Resonant

See it if You like intimate stories about someone's love of a moment in time. You enjoy silly banter, fun dialogue, and heartfelt moments

Don't see it if Occasionally it was a little confusing as to where they were in time and space. They would shift in the narrative, not always clearly.

Resonant, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy LGBT history as seen through the eyes of Scotish Gays in the late 20th century.

Don't see it if You strongly dislike LGBT themes or Scotish accents.

Scottish charmers in a comic tour of 80s gay lit

See it if Gay bookshop in the basement of Fire Island, a gay nightclub in 80s Edinburgh. Two fine actors in fun, frenetic colloquy of gay life and lit

Don't see it if you're not high on gay theater or Scottish accents. Two very smart gay boys try to make a go of a radical gay bookshop in Thatcher-era UK.

Also Two fine Scottish actors -- tall, thin Pierce Reid as Lewis and shorte... Read more Read less

Funny, Ambitious, Confusing, Entertaining, High nrg

See it if you're drawn to stories of LGBT history esp from other parts of the world. An engaging, if not predictable two-hander by a charming cast.

Don't see it if you're easily confused. The multiple characters portrayed are not clearly defined/performed and the nonlinear plot gets even muddier.

Enchanting, Delightful, Ambitious

See it if This has two charming and semi-talented individuals in interesting, yet unfocused tale of Scottish gay history.

Don't see it if Even though the play is short, with the various concepts of early gay life in Scotland, the time seems to be running slow.


See it if you're gay or familiar with gay lit or like gay romance or hidden history. Cast of 2 is likeable.

Don't see it if you're not familiar with gay book titles as you may not know what they're talking about; you don't like 2 character plays, no set, gay theme

Also This is one of those plays where it helps to sit up front so you can m... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Resonant, Has potential, Bare set, Two performers

See it if You enjoy small scale, intimate productions. You are interested in the history of gay rights.

Don't see it if A play needs to be fully successful for you to enjoy it. Some elements work, some don’t. Also, heavy accents & almost nonexistent set.

Also I was very impressed with some of the soliloquies and dialogue. The pl... Read more Read less

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy two-handers, light-hearted humor and historical fact and fiction.

Don't see it if The idea of romance between two men is anathema to you. Mildly bawdy humor is also on display.

Great writing, Ambitious

See it if If you are interested in LGBTQ history, related through a gay love story set in an Edinburgh bookstore

Don't see it if You want a fully polished production. I found it to be on the amateurish side.

Also The play was decently written. Pierce Reid gave a good performance. Ma... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you want a fun, intelligent take on what queer spaces mean to their inhabitants.

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable with plays about gay men, or hate Scottish accents.

Entertaining, Absorbing, Relevant, Slow, Delightful

See it if If have interest in LGBTQ history. Writing is good and actors are delightful.

Don't see it if If you are homofobic and like musicals.

Entertaining, Great acting, Hilarious, Edgy, Confusing

See it if you like lgbtq themes and over the top gay (but not drag) characters, with a hint of homage to the 80's & the british is fun for most part.

Don't see it if you don't like any of the above and could get lost/confised in some dated references & british humor. But seeing the 2 actors alone was fun.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Quirky, Uneven

See it if you enjoy a quick and absorbing LGBT story

Don't see it if you need production values, big sets etc - or a fully realized production.

Delightful, Funny, Great acting, Must see, Relevant

See it if you enjoy meta narratives brilliantly employed to illustrate identity issues; entertaining and touching personalized history-telling

Don't see it if you have trouble following non-linear storytelling and actors playing different characters (though all are well telegraphed visually)

Also a beautifully written play about the living history of the LGBTQ commu... Read more Read less

Cute, Nostalgic, Confusing, Dizzying

See it if you have a connection with Edinborough and/or the Scottish gay scene of the 1980s... or you're interested in getting a glimpse of it.

Don't see it if Non-linear narrative confuses you, you have trouble understanding Scottish accents, gay history doesn't interest you

Also I did enjoy the play, though I must say that there were major portions... Read more Read less

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Quirky

See it if you love LGBTQ history, funny and profound dialogue, great acting.

Don't see it if you are not too fond of minimal set and non linear storytelling confuses you.

Also I love books and I can still remember that feeling of wonderment and j... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Confusing, Indulgent, Thought-provoking, Circuitous

See it if interested in queer and literary history, Britain, or memory plays. sweet love story wedged in between the shelves of memories.

Don't see it if The play has a tendency to show its cards too early and circle on itself with repeating themes. Also, queers be here. Homophobes beware

Also The play is told through the perspective of two of the eponymous book ... Read more Read less

Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you have a connection to gay literature or have lived though the 80s

Don't see it if don't like theatre with a gay theme

November 26th, 2018
"Ley’s lively, delightful comedy-drama...The real-life backstory behind ‘Lavender Menace’, combined with playwright’s earnest exploration of the unique friendship between Lewis and Glen, is the most fascinating story of all...The play offers a poignant yet often hilariously funny look at the atmo...
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October 17th, 2017
for a previous production “Ley’s funny new play celebrating the Edinburgh bookshop that was a lifeline for the gay community...A love song to a moment in time...Philips’s production is sparky and good-humoured, Reid and McVarish showing sharp comic timing as they resist the cliche of the tragic gay narrative arc and the e...
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August 18th, 2018
for a previous production “’Lavender Menace’ was the legendary LGBTQ book shop, and this hugely enjoyable production pays loving tribute to the shop...Not a dull moment...The play is also a love song to literature and to gay spaces where we could feel safe and less alone...The sub plot of a closeted married man felt a lit...
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August 4th, 2018
for a previous production “The dynamic relationship between Lewis and Glen is at the heart of ‘Love Song to Lavender Menace’...They riff off each other and indulge themselves in nostalgia and over the top performance as they recount tales of love, dancing, and activism...Ley has crafted a script filled with humour, charac...
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