Fringe review: I’m Not Gay

By John Lyle Belden

Senator Bobby insists, “I’m Not Gay,” but in this comic drama by Matthew Barron, presented by Submatter Press at the Marrott Center, no one believes it. The press seems to prefer taking the word of the man he was sleeping with.

Russell Lee Watson plays the Indiana Senator, who doesn’t understand why no one believes him. He’s sure that all men have his urges, but since being gay is wrong, they just suppress them better than he does. This is frustrating to his wife Margaret (Kerra D. Wagener), who accepts him regardless, and his closest advisor George (Aaron Cleveland), who has been in love with him for years.

These characters struggle to sort out how they feel and what they mean to each other, generating quite a few laughs on the way. Daniel Klingler rounds out the cast as gay bar worker Billie Joe, who dispenses much-needed wisdom as only a way-out-of-the-closet bartender can.

The play doesn’t come down too hard on hypocrisy or the state of politics today, focusing on the very human struggles of three personalities stuck in a world where appearances are everything and you are only as good or relevant as your last soundbite or headline. Between these actors’ performance and Barron’s words, they actually make us feel for a conservative blowhard; yet that may not be a bad thing.

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