When I saw his performance, I was not "squirming" at simply seeing a gay character, I was concerned at seeing an actor playing a character as a caricature of a minority group in the play, which in this case happens to be gay. This is not the same as other caricatured characters in the play like Aldolfo, a Latin lover who chooses to be that way. Last time I checked, majority scientific opinion about sexual orientation is that it is not something you choose any more than being left handed. Furthermore, there is nothing in D'Haene's role demands that anything specific about any minority group about it at all; he's just a guy who enjoys musical theatre who could be a Rwandan Tutsi Albino for all the real relevance to the plot.
In short, the sole problem I had was a person playing a stereotype of a minority group. As for his claim about the play honoring the classic era of musical theatre, this was a part of musical theatre of that time too:
Now, if The Drowsy Chaperone is celebrating the traditions of 1920s musical theatre, why wasn't there a tribute to this one in the play? If you give the obvious answer about that kind of getup, that many African-American entertainers were forced to use themselves on stage for decades, why is it then considered fair game to caricature another minority on stage, and differ only by degree?
As for supposedly calling D'Haene out for playing "Too Gay," that is as irrelevant as calling Lincoln Perry, who played the quintessential racist comic movie caricature, Stepin Fetchit, "Too Black." Just because the player happens to be of that minority does not make those depictions any less wrong. All that concerned me is that both played a stereotypically broad caricature of a minority, albeit to different degrees.
Whether you want to consider me uptight, politically correct or some other epitaph, I don't really care, especially from someone who calls me "My favourite critic" and yet has shut me out of paid review assignments as the online theatre editor of The Beat for more than a year for whatever reason I am past wanting to know about.
I tried to give an honest opinion with a flash of social conscience and if smug sneering is what I get, then I guess that's a due that I have to pay.