Poly Queer Love Ballad Explores an Unconventional Romantic Narrative

Poly Queer Love Ballad

Image by Emily Cooper

By Rachel Rosenberg

Poly Queer Love Ballad will definitely resonate with romantics. A self-described “slam musical”, it sold out at Vancouver Fringe Festival last year before being snapped up by the Queer Arts Festival. Premiering March 5, the show’s narrative follows Nina and Gaby as their passionate coupledom develops.

Nina is a shy poet and Gaby is a charismatic singer-songwriter; the two queer women meet at local venue Cafe Deux Soleils during an open mic night. They fall wildly, tenderly in love but as they get to know each other, they discover their clashing relationship approaches — Nina is poly and has a secondary partner while Gaby prefers a monogamous relationship. Despite Gaby’s reservations, she gives the open relationship a try and what follows are their efforts to navigate through challenges and jealousies. It is a compelling exploration of intimacy, queerness and polyamorous relationships.

Winner of the PTC Fringe New Play Prize and the Georgia Straight Critics Award, actors and co-creators Anais West and Sara Vicruck have created a timely romantic comedy-drama. As West told SAD Mag in an interview last year: “I was constantly grappling with the label of being poly and bisexual and what that meant to me and other people. Then I realized, I had never seen a play about polyamory.”  That PQLB did so well at the Fringe Fest might be demonstrative of how many people are yearning for cultural portrayals outside of the assumed mainstream.

Queer Arts Festival

Image by Emily Cooper

Set against the backdrop of the open mic night, Vickruck incorporates witty, folky-pop songs while West’s heartfelt poems express Nina’s inner thoughts and wants. PQLB plays with musical boundaries just like its characters’ play with romantic ones. The music itself utilizes a loop pedal to create bold, original music that reflects the twists and turns of the relationship.

It’s easy to be drawn in by this enjoyable, distinctly Vancouver production—from the setting to the songs, local references abound. That isn’t all that makes it unique, though, as West herself pointed out, polyamory is still rarely represented in culture. PQLB has everything audiences will want out of a great show: the strong chemistry between Vicruck and West, the clever musical numbers and the realistic, thought-provoking relationship.

Watch the trailer here and then grab tickets through Eventbrite — quickly, though, given that their March 5th preview show has already sold out.

 You can see Queer Poly Love Ballad between March 5-10 at the Queer Arts Festival’s SUM Gallery (268 Keefer Street).


Rachel Rosenberg is a writer and library technician who is a proud member of the LGBTQ2+ community. She writes for Book Riot and can be found on Twitter @LibraryRachelR

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