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Backlash to gay adoption play boosts promotion, inspires ridicule

A YouTube video ‘protest’ against upcoming gay adoption stage drama Jiena Nhobb, Inti Thobb may turn out to be the best possible advert for the Simon Bartolo-penned production, soon to be staged at the Manoel Theatre.

Teodor Reljic
22 January 2014, 12:00am
Clare Aguis, Roderick Vassallo and Davide Tucci in the already-controversial Maltese production Jiena Nhobb, Inti Thobb.
Clare Aguis, Roderick Vassallo and Davide Tucci in the already-controversial Maltese production Jiena Nhobb, Inti Thobb.

Operators working within the local cultural scene will often complain that their audiences are almost always made up of the same groups of people, but the producers of upcoming gay adoption drama Jiena Nhobb, Inti Thobb may just break with that uncomfortable tradition thanks to a viral video aimed - ironically enough - to turn potential punters away from the play.

Last Monday, shortly after Stagun Teatru Malti released its first promotional material for Jiena Nhobb, Inti Thobb, Matthew Luke Grech - a member of the controversial 'gay conversion' Christian group River of Love - released a YouTube video calling for a boycott on the play, given that it deals with themes that could potentially be "harmful" to society.

Grech first dipped his feet into the public sphere during his stint as an aspiring 'pop/RnB' singer going by the moniker Jay Omaro, but has since then eschewed a musical career.

Reaction to the video on social media was resoundingly negative, with many condemning Grech's stance as highly offensive and blinkered.

Some also took issue with Grech's involvement with the controversial Christian group River of Love, which is headed by televangelist Gordon Mache and propagates 'reparative' conversion techniques for homosexuals - a practice deemed "damaging, destructive and unethical" by a psychologist interviewed by MaltaToday.

Others were amused by Grech's use of the word 'suppressat', while some commented on the apparent discrepancy between the homophobic sentiment espoused by Grech during the video and the sight of what looked like a shiny tutu hanging on the wall behind him.

But perhaps the most memorable response came from a parody video by stand-up comedian Matt Bonanno. In his send-up of Grech's imploring missive, Bonnano talks about the apparent damage to children the upcoming animated feature film The Lego Movie will cause to children.

Jiena Nhobb, Inti Thobb is written by Simon Bartolo and directed by Sean Buhagiar. Being performed under the Stagun Teatru Malti banner, it will be staged at the Manoel Theatre between February 7 and 10, and is produced by Mario Philip Azzopardi.
Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...
Noel Vella
All one has to do is read the medical and psychological reports to know how to react to all of this. There is no more need for discussion: 25 years of studying the effect of gay parents on children has proven that there is NO cause for alarm as the children grow up just fine. Other studies have shown definitively that "gay conversion" therapy is a lot of bunk, making money for a bunch of scurrilous profiteers, but completely harmful to their "patients" - and they know it. Thank goodness in this day and age - with Google and other Internet sites, it is possible for the Maltese to have stepped out of the 19th Century concerning such issues. There are currently more than a dozen countries with gay marriage and adoption, and none have shown any harmful effects. Is Malta so different that they can't react like adults to all of this? Of course they can... and will!
Winston John Sawyer
@axl rose,wrong they still play the part of HOLIER THAN THE POPE for vote catching!
Pn still stuck in the 60's . Pn = wonder that landslide last march.
Seriously? Stand up comedian Matt Bonanno? Just because he shows up and talks with with a microphone in his hand? I hang out in my kitchen a lot, so I must be a fridge, no?
YES to gay civil union NO to gay adoption.
Winston John Sawyer
simple ,just like a naturist beach,if you do not like what you see do not go!
Anna Callus
Why are we stuck in the rut where a gay character can only be played by a gay person?
Lina Bonnici
Seeing these videos posted by these so called Christians rather worries me. It is not healthy for a society to have such firm believers in religions as it inspires ignorance and close mindedness and it is not good for progress. and clearly these people have some personal issues which they seem afraid to tackle. the bible should not be taken literally and in this days we should start seeking something more modern for guidance i mean how can a book written over 4000 years ago be relevant today. If anyone today does some of the things in the bible they would be considered a crazy person and with good reason
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