Reviewed by: Caro Ness

What a fabulous film this is. It should be required viewing for everyone in the country, not least in any educational forum. And not just because it is a brilliant exploration of homosexuality and our attitudes towards it but because it is a joyous homage to language, to rhythm, to drama, to dance - to life itself.

Made with the support of Stonewall, among others, it is a glorious, groundbreaking exploration of what it is to be gay and how we are perceived because of it. This film is absorbing, thought-provoking, encouraging, inclusive – it is truly inspirational.

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The film tells the story of six teenagers, in turn, through their own and others’ eyes, each of whom has fallen foul of their school in some way, who are forced to participate in a dance and drama class to seek redemption, but in the process not only discover themselves, but learn so much more about their friends and peers too.

This is a dance/drama class with a difference, and that difference is Loris (Rikki Beadle-Blair) who is completely open about his homosexuality – he wears a pink leotard to his first class – and who encourages his peers to view the world with new eyes and ears.

Take Lee (Lydia Toumazou), your stereotypical "dyke" – except she is straight and it is her best friend Karmel (Sasha Frost) who everyone believes to be a man-eater, who is the lipstick lesbian – girly and pretty and into girls. Or Tegs (Duncan MacInnes), the school geek who is labelled gay and who is driven to the verge of suicide but who is actually straight, and is redeemed by realising that a girl is in love with him. And what about Tegs’ best friend Jordan (Ludvig Bonin) who is in love with Tegs and tries to protect him from bullying, yet, like Karmel, finds it hard to admit to his own sexuality. And then there’s Isaac (Jay Brown), who with best friend Ryan (Stephen Hoo) is homophobic to the nth degree and yet is secretly gay himself and trying to disguise the fact.

Stir this mix with a truly accomplished young cast, and a writer/director/actor of prodigious talent and you encounter a film that explores profoundly and dazzlingly well the diversity of human sexuality and experience.

It explores the fear of coming out, that friends or family may reject you, the wonder of not knowing the true core of your best friend - that they are gay – and whether this will change them or you. It also examines the fear of your friends knowing that you are gay and so deliberately buying into homophobic behaviour and the blinding realisation that sexuality does not change your friend or change you, it merely strengthens the bonds of your friendship.

Every one of the six leading characters and Loris plays their role with sincerity and depth, borne from the fact that the play on which the film is based toured the UK - around schools, youth clubs and theatres – so it gave each actor the opportunity to really inhabit the life of their character and they do, in spades.

Some reviewers claimed that this film did not translate well from theatre to film. All I can say is that if that is true I wish that I had seen the play because it must have been truly awesome. I think that the film is a masterpiece. It is an exhilarating jewel of a film that deserves to be part of the school curriculum – go watch it, it's wicked.

Reviewed on: 31 Oct 2010
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A last chance dance class becomes a therapeutic encounter between adolescents struggling with ideas about sexuality.
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Director: Rikki Beadle Blair

Writer: Rikki Beadle Blair

Starring: Sasha Frost, Ludvig Bonin, Jay Brown, Stephen Hoo, Rikki Beadle-Blair

Year: 2010

Runtime: 108 minutes

Country: UK


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