Co-creators Michael Phillis and Rory Davis invite viewers to take a look behind the scenes of their beloved Gay All-Male Revue, BALONEY. While we witness them and their collaborators rehearse for their new show, which premiered just a few weeks before the global pandemic hit, we also get to know the cast a little better. It’s a surprising story that not only explores the bigger picture when it comes to fantasy and social commentary, it also delivers a different perspective on how we all navigate coming out, sexuality and living up to certain expectations in general.

Every single person in this documentary has a unique life, that also translates in an extraordinary way on stage. These authentic people have walked different paths to where they are now, yet somehow found a purpose that not only changed their lives but also those they surround themselves with. What BALONEY, the show and this documentary, does, is give its audience a mirror in which they can see their true selves.

The daily struggles of dating and masculinity are just a tip of the iceberg within the gay community, but when you dig deeper you’ll see a whole another level of fear and doubt. These people have either gone through similar experiences or the complete opposite, but have joined forces to destigmatise the sexualised aspects of striptease and burlesque as some sort of on camera confessional. It’s an interesting watch, that flies by in no time.

First time director Joshua Guerci (who also shot and edited the film) makes you feel as if you’re right there during rehearsals. While we get some personal one-on-one’s with the stars of the show and it’s creators, it connects you with every single one of them, and that’s exactly what Michael Phillis wants from his audiences as well.

BALONEY will undoubtedly help more queer people respect their peers, while successfully showcasing an even more inclusive and represented group of talented people. Thoroughly engaging, I hope Baloney – the Gay All-Male Revue one day finds their way across the ocean so more of us can witness their talents.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewed June 7, 2022. Rating: TBC. Running time: 70 min.

PRODUCTION: Producers: Jethro Patalinghug & Marc Smolowitz. Executive producer: Jason Kelley.

CREW: Director, editor, cinematographer: Joshua Guerci. Music: Jordain Wallace.

CAST: Michael Phillis, Rory Davis, Pablo Schmidt-Escobar, Ryan Patrick Welsh, Aaron Sarazan, Will Bedell, Joe Andrews, Beth Miles, Andrew Slade & Jules Llavore.

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