We wouldn’t consider ourselves criers, but after seeing the preview night of Bare: A Pop Opera last night, we may have to rethink that. A musical set in a Christian boarding school where the student’s lives revolve around private prayer, group mass and the upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet, two queer boys battle coming to terms with their sexuality. Afraid of what their peers, parents and God would think of their secret relationship, they both struggle with seeing a different life past high school.
As well as the overarching storyline of sexuality and discrimination, Bare also addresses plenty of other themes all too common with modern adolescence. Mental illness, unrequited love, drugs and sex are all dealt with in raw and real ways, covering a broad spectrum that everyone will be able to find themselves on. One of the reasons we think Bare was such a moving musical is if you couldn’t see yourself in one of the characters you could see a friend, making it incredibly relatable to a wide audience.
While many people we know might not identify as Christian or even religious anymore, Bare was a refreshing reminder that religion is still present and an incredibly personal journey. The good and bad sides were played out by a stiff and traditional priest and a bubbly and sassy nun, played by Stacey Francis, showing how two people can perceive the same religion in a totally different way.
Though the issues Bare deals with are extremely important, the story balances out the serious with plenty of fun and laughter. From a pumping rave in a forest to a hilarious ‘vision’ of the Holy Mary and two cherubs, who more resemble Beyoncé than anything else, it shows the lighthearted sides of carefree youth as well.
If we could’ve stood at the end for a standing ovation we would have, but unfortunately we were too busy holding each other and sobbing uncontrollably. Bare: A Pop Opera takes you on a real rollercoaster of happy and sad, empathy and amusement, all the while carrying an important and terribly relevant message. We give it five stars out of five shining stars, and you can book tickets to go see this fantastic show here.