entertainment

Kele Okereke didn’t want his play 'Leave to Remain' to focus on ‘harmful sides’ of gay life

The openly gay Bloc Party frontman has teamed up with playwright Matt Jones on the new LGBT+ play

2019-01-15

Kele Okereke didn’t want his play Leave to Remain to focus on ‘harmful sides’ of gay life.

The openly gay frontman of Bloc Party has teamed up with playwright and screenwriter Matt Jones on the new LGBT+ play, Leave to Remain at the Lyric Hammersmith.

The play follows the young mixed-race couple Obi and Alex who lead a busy life in London but when Alex’s visa comes into question and his firm are relocating to the United Arab Emirates, their relationship takes a turn.

With marriage being an option, it means they must confront their families and their pasts.

And while speaking to the Evening Standard, Okereke said he was ‘fed up with seeing gay narratives laced with tragedy’ and wanted to do something that ‘spoke of love’.

He said: “We didn’t want the focus to be on the damaged or harmful sides of gay life — we wanted something that spoke of love.

“I was fed up with seeing gay narratives laced with tragedy — when I was growing up the gay character always died of Aids.

“Obviously, that was a reality for some people. But with gay marriage in its relative infancy, we wanted to tell a story about that, and the reality of when different families are united through same-sex union.

“That’s a relatively new story and one I’m not seeing represented in fiction so much.”