‘Standing On a Nail: A Queer Horror Story’: Review

On February 23rd, Standing on A Nail: A Queer Horror Story made an impressive debut, selling out the Lakeside theatre on campus.

The play followed the intense and unraveling relationships between each of its main characters. Revelations are made which shakes things in the bar between the core 5.

 Warren, long-term boyfriend of Hugh, struggles with anxiety and uncertainty as their relationship transitions from monogamous to open. Hugh is a contrasting character to Warren, as the more extroverted of the two and also more eager about the new chapter of their relationship. Throughout the play, the actors give the audience insight into the deeper issues between the two characters with convincing emotion and argument. Jealousy is alluded to on both sides, as they fight desperately to save their relationship.

Giles starts off portrayed as young and flirtatious, acting as the comedic relief in the group. As the play continues, we are shown his uncertainty and fear of life. The audience sees his character develop as he is shaken by a close call.

Owen, co-owner of the bar, shares the business with his long-term boyfriend Samuel. Throughout the play, Owen and Samuel are veiled with mystery. Samuel’s character is absent throughout the play, for a reason slowly revealed to us, and Owen is left to hold down the bar.

Anastasia, a bold, fun drag queen, battles with feelings of accomplishment as she nears retirement. She keeps the characters on their toes with sharp commentary and edginess, but underneath it, all is driven by a love for each of them.

The audience is brought to the edge of their seats as secrets and fears simultaneously unite and tear apart the cast, leaving their truths exposed. The overarching theme of this play is queer empathy, showing the audience a different, more emotional angle on horror. I found it symbolic and intriguing, but at certain points, it felt foreseeable. I enjoyed a representation of characters you wouldn’t normally see in horror, particularly the inclusion of a drag queen. However, I wish there was an expansion on certain plot points and a more cohesive resolution. Overall, I enjoyed watching the play, it was engaging, and fun and the passion of the crew and cast is palpable. SOAN may return soon, so I will avoid giving in-depth commentary that may spoil its plot, but I will leave it off by saying, support diverse art and theatre, and keep up with SOAN’s potential future showings! It’s an enjoyable play with a dynamic cast and atmosphere.

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