To Persia With Lust: Lipstick, A Fairy Tale Of Iran - Review
Officially attributed to WC Fields (and, unofficially, to an anonymous porn actor), "never work with children or animals" is a maxim for the ages which should really be extended to "…or drag queens."
Based on the play’s director and writer Sarah Chew's experiences in Iran during the widespread protests in 2010, eye-opening two-hander Lipstick: A Fairy Tale Of Iran positions itself as 'part theatre, part drag cabaret' but that's like holding an espresso martini up to the light and describing it as 'part glass, part cocktail'.
We meet opera and drag show director Orla (Siobhan O'Kelly) on her way to Tehran as part of a government-sponsored cultural expedition to "help and bear witness"; her sexually precocious business partner Mark (Nathan Kiley aka drag artiste Topsie Redfern) is meanwhile busy opening a new cabaret venue. In Iran, Orla's queer feminist viewpoint is challenged and outraged by what she sees there, the people she meets and the brutal and violent events that unfold in front of her eyes.
O'Kelly is a fiery force despite the play's uneven verbiage while Kiley gets to rock out (occasionally with his cock out), casually heisting the limelight as he does and adding much-needed zest to this wordy work.
Lipstick: A Fairy Tale Of Iran. Omnibus Theatre, Clapham Common North Side, SW4 0QW. £16,13. Until 24 March. ★★★☆☆
Last Updated 08 March 2019