Theatre review: promiscuous/cities by Lachlan Philpott

Midsumma Festival, Melbourne’s queer arts and cultural festival runs 21 January to 12 February and boy has it come a long way since it began in 1989. Last night I went to see Promiscuous Cities written by Lachlan Philpott and showing at Theatre Works in St Kilda.

The production is set in the round and opens with a lone woman sitting on a stool, then it explodes. The props are sparse but versatile, and well designed costumes help bring the characters of the twelve talented young actors to life. The choreography is exquisite and creative and moves the actors seamlessly at pace from scene to scene in a way that enhances the aesthetics.

Promiscuous Cities has a bit of everything – at one moment like a cabaret, then a ballet, then a traditional play – but what sounds like a mish-mash works beautifully to tell a tale of the city of San Francisco. Multiple fast paced story lines run through the show exposing the underbelly of San Francisco, famed as a place of freedom and liberal thought.

What you get is glimpses into the cities many subcultures, the impact of the IT boom and the gentrification that has spawned homelessness, the ongoing legacy of the HIV pandemic, and the impacts of street violence and drugs. Promiscuous Cities show oozes queerness and reminded me of a trip I did to San Fran about eight years ago when I was lucky enough to get some insights from a local I met there.

Promiscuous Cities is a professional quality production that deserves a full house every night, so get a ticket before they all sell out. The show runs till 24th January.

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