Hear what the Purple Moon Drama Reviews team have to say about the latest theatre and performance around London.
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“The tension and horror is as successful as the humour and high camp; particularly in this Western setting where everyone has a gun.”
Charlie Josephine’s Cowbois is both a hilariously clichéd Western and a brilliant queer story. In a quintessential Wild West saloon, we meet a group of women who have been left to run the town themselves. The sheriff is drunk, their husbands have been away for months looking for gold, and it feels as though there isn’t a lot they can do to improve their circumstances. Nobody is particularly happy, even though the town they (or their husbands) have built seems ideal; everyone gets along thanks to the simple rules posted on the walls of the saloon - ‘NO GUNS! NO POLITICS!’
The back-and-forth among the group is quick, precise and engaging. It is delightful to watch these five characters interact and it brought me on board for a non-naturalistic style I hadn’t expected to enjoy.
A notorious and stunningly handsome bandit, Jack Cannon (Vinnie Heaven), rolls into town and everything changes. He encourages the women to be truer to themselves. Here, the fresh perspective is amplified by a fantastic use of movement; the characters’ body language becomes more free and expressive.
The costume design adds to the spectacle and there’s a real gear shift into a celebratory atmosphere: it’s as though a weight is lifted off of each of the characters. It’s a party. There are also some incredibly moving moments which almost take you by surprise whilst you’re swept up in the comedy.
Josephine manages to immerse us in a wish-fulfilling world in the first half and then raise the stakes and bring it all crashing down in the second half, reminding us of the real dangers for LGBTQ+ people today. The tension and horror is as successful as the humour and high camp; particularly in this Western setting where everyone has a gun.
The contrast is brutal and makes you long for the joys of the earlier scenes. Cowbois reminds us that the fight for freedom to be yourself in an inclusive society is ongoing and that the contributions of LGBTQ+ people are essential. Above all it’s a blast!
4 Moons Out Of 5!
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