Review: Beautiful Thing at Leeds Playhouse

Set on a council street with three flats, this play is a funny and heart warming love story based around a boy called Jamie who is coming to terms with his sexuality.

In flat 11 lives Leah, a bolshy but vulnerable young girl. She has been excluded from school but just wants to be loved and liked. She is a funny character with a big heart and great sense of humour. Her hilarious different accents had the audience laughing. Leah is played by Scarlett Rayner, a very talented actress.

Next door lives a busy barmaid called Sandra and her latest boyfriend Tony. She is a protective mum who knows what poverty is and works very hard and all the hours to give Jamie and herself a better life. Tony is a quiet but quirky artist but is a bit of a daydreamer. He loves Sandra but finds her independence a bit hard to deal with. He ends up being very sympathetic to the younger generations, in particular to Leah, when she has a bad turn from taking drugs.

In the last flat lives Ste, a lad who loves football but lives with his abusive dad and is regularly beaten black and blue. He is deeply ashamed but is defensive and thinks there’s no option or way out.

Ste and Jamie become good friends and Ste is grateful when Jamie offers him a place to stay and escape his dad’s beatings. They end up sharing a bed, first top and tailing where they just make small talk but then realise their feelings for each other are too strong to ignore and take things to the next level. At first they try to deny their sexuality but realise when they have the support of family and friends that love conquers all …

This play covers everything from poverty, domestic abuse and acceptance. The language was appropriate to the story and had lots of witty one liners, the audience listened to every word. It thoroughly deserved its standing ovation by many and I would highly recommend this play to anyone wanting to see that love is simply a beautiful thing.

Beautiful Thing runs at Leeds Playhouse Quarry Theatre until Saturday (28 October 2023).  Full details and tickets at:


This post was written by reader Cheryl Turp in return for two free tickets, as part of South Leeds Goes To The Playhouse.

Photo: The Other Richard


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