Q&A: Writer/director Sarah Chew on mixing genres and the Beyond Borders theatre season, Omnibus Theatre
Q&A: Josh Roche on directing 'thriller' Plastic and who he'd 'commit crimes' to work with

Scratch performance: Lipstick - a fairytale of modern Iran, Omnibus Theatre

Considering this is a scratch performance it is only the scripts in hands that really give it away as a work in progress.

The costumes, props and set seem pretty fleshed out, only the physical necessity of holding the script slightly holding up the flow.

FB Banner - Lipstick - credit Aaron Jacob JonesIt is a colourful, vibrant piece with darker edges utilising various genres from boylesque, drag, Vaudeville and storytelling and is based on writer/director Sarah Chew's own experiences finding herself in Iran as part of an arts project during the Green uprising in 2010.

Laura Dos Santos plays Orla who makes the six-week trip to Tehran as part of a cultural exchange to teach and learn about theatre - just as protests begin and relationships between Iran and the UK are getting more strained.

Nathan Kelly plays her friend with whom she is setting up a club back home who leaves long rambling messages on her hotel voicemail. He also plays most of the other characters rapidly switching between costumes and props to distinguish between them.

Against a backdrop of civil unrest, the arts project seems like a frivolity but there is far more to this shared cultural experience than first meets the eye.

In fact, that is what I loved about what I saw, the mixing of the often silly with the far more serious.

The test of any scratch performance is whether you'd want to see the finished project and to that, I say a big fat 'yes'. 

This is a play that I could see polished up and trimmed back and doing well at the Edinburgh Fringe followed by a run at somewhere like the Soho Theatre Upstairs. And I really hope it gets there.

There are two more scratch performances today at 4 pm and 7 pm at the Omnibus Theatre in Clapham and it's around an hour and 35 minutes without an interval.  You get the chance to give feedback afterwards.

Lipstick is part of a mini-season at the Omnibus called Beyond Borders.

Edit 3/1/19: Lipstick is getting a full production and run at the Omnibus theatre from Feb 26-Mar 24.

Read my Q&A with Sarah Chew for more details on the season and on Lipstick.

Image by Aaron Jacob Jones