Review by: Lucinda Naughton
Part of Midsumma Festival, Coming Out, written, directed and produced by Lucy Holz, is a celebration of female queerness, exploring what it means to be an ally in a highly entertaining fashion. The play is set in Melbourne and opens with Mia, a blossoming bisexual, stepping off a tram and into her first gay club. She bumps into Scout, a lesbian from her past high school days and they hit it off. Mia’s friend Felicity on the other hand, is excited to have ‘a gay in the group’.
With the 60-minute running time, the play is a crisp snapshot into the lives of these three young women. The short timeframe we are privy to, emphasises the complex nature of being an ally and the demanding and repetitive reality of coming out. The play uses humour to address and explore these issues and themes, choosing to explore them in a light and accessible way, which I think highlights the celebration of queerness within the piece.
Holz’s script is terrific; honest, witty and relevant, it captures the audience immediately. The story arc progresses naturally, the themes escalating at the right moment when the audience is hooked. The three characters bring entirely distinct perspectives to the story, making their interactions highly entertaining and engaging to watch.
I loved the performances from all three cast members. Hayley Edwards brings warmth and integrity to Mia; Mia’s figured out what she wants and she’s going for it. Polly Garret brings great presence and wit to the stage in her performance of Scout. Matilda Gibbs effortlessly brings to life the hilarious, self-obsessed straight character Felicity, who says all the wrong things. The differing perspectives offer contrasting queer experiences and through the characters’ relationships the play explores what it means to be an ally.
While the play opens on the protagonist Mia embracing her bisexuality, she’s already figured out what she wants, so the play focuses instead on Mia and Scout’s journey with Felicity. Felicity’s response to Mia’s realisation and how she interacts with both Mia and Scout point to underlying tensions and complications that arise within allies and the queer community, showing, through humour, the disvaluing impact these perspectives can have. Felicity’s character is imperfect but lovable in her absurdity and it’s engaging to watch her journey with Scout and Mia.
Holz’s direction is wonderful; the characters’ chemistry on stage is palpable and drives the themes within the piece. In such a short amount of time, the differing relationships between each character are firmly established and deeply explored and questioned. Freya Allen’s set design is simple and effective, the cast changing two backdrop wheels in between scenes to establish place.
Coming Out is moving, funny and deeply relatable, I’d definitely recommend grabbing a ticket!