Sod’s Law – Pleasance Theatre


“If you were wearing an orange coloured hanky in your right-hand pocket you were just cruising, whereas in the left you were up for anything, anytime, anywhere. Don’t want to get those two mixed up”

A review by Tanya Howard

When I first saw the bio for Lord Hick’s show Sod’s Law, a musical romp through queer history, my mind was in two places. Half of me was thinking that sounds amazing, an hour of camp songs and a whole lot of sass, what more could you want. But the other half couldn’t get past the thought that whilst being gay is a lot more widely accepted now, across history it was a thing to be feared, a thing to be hidden, it was an illegal act and in some countries it still is. With all this in mind there was only one option, I had to see this show!

Lord Hicks, dressed in top and tails looking very dapper, armed with a ukulele and a keyboard entertained the audience with the history of being gay, starting way back in 1533 when Henry VIII put into place The Buggery Act, defining buggery as an unnatural sexual act against the will of God and man. The first ever sodomy law would remain in place until it was repealed and replaced by the Offences against the Person Act in 1828, and buggery remained a capital offense until 1861.

Lord Hick’s has a great presence, he manages to be both sassy and stone faced at times, and his charisma and audience interactions keep you on your toes and entertained. If all of my lessons at school had been accompanied by original and covered songs, I would have definitely taken in a lot more information. I went away knowing so much information that I hadn’t previously been aware of, including the plight of Oscar Wilde, and Hicks managed to celebrate, reminisce and mourn the triumphs and loses of the gay community, all the while keeping a light comedic touch to it.

Another interesting titbit I took away was the Hanky Code, which men used to highlight what they were looking for. The pocket the hanky was in signalled whether you were the actor or the actee, with the left taking charge, and colour of the hanky tended to signalise the man’s preference, such as orange in the left pocket was for anything goes and fuchsia in the right pocket meant spank me.

The show was really informative and enjoyable, I loved the use of song and how Hick’s adapted classics like Hound Dog, amending the words to “You ain’t nothing but a gay boy” or wrote his own piece, like the closing song where he sang all the derogatory names used for gay people throughout history. I would definitely recommend the show interesting in the history of homosexuality or just intrigued by the idea of a history lesson within a cabaret set up, I don’t think you will be disappointed.