Virgins and Cowboys

Theatre, Drama
Virgins and Cowboys
Photograph: Lachlan Woods Penelope Harpham in Virgins and Cowboys, 2015, Theatre Works

Pussy grabs back in Morgan Rose's dark comedy for our #MeToo times

When this premiere production of Morgan Rose's play opened at Melbourne's Theatre Works in 2015, we gave it 5 stars, writing: 

Morgan Rose is a biting new name in the Melbourne playwriting community, and she is dreamily matched up with this cast and crew. Would recommend memorising the names of every person involved in this production.

Thanks to Griffin, it's getting a Sydney showing – with the original cast: Katrina Cornwell, James Deeth, Penelope Harpham, George Lingard, and Kieran Law. 

Time Out Melbourne's 5 star review of Virgins and Cowboys:

The genius of comedy is its ability to enlighten, challenge and delight audience members all at the same time. On that note, there's Morgan Rose's Virgins and Cowboys: a work that addresses female sexuality, rape culture, and male ownership of women.

Performed as a part of the Flight Festival of New Writing, Virgins and Cowboys starts with a simple idea: Sam (Kieran Law) wants to deflower a virgin. His two mates (George Lingard and James Deeth) are behind the idea as he is torn between pursuing the grossly over-earnest Lane (Penelope Harpham) or inhibited and steely Steph (Katrina Cornwell). Young minds try to navigate their sexual desires as each character is forced to face their oncoming busloads of maturity and responsibilities to each other.

The entire cast is tremendous. Kieran Law is delightfully flawed as leading man Sam, and plays the likeable no-hoper with extraordinary energy. James Deeth is masterfully restrained and Katrina Cornwell brings a resounding emotional beauty to the older woman, who’s really only 29. George Lingard and Penelope Harpham need to be given lots of hugs and presents. Hilarious and phenomenal.

The combined physical theatre backgrounds of playwright Morgan Rose, director Dave Sleswick and choreographer Dale Thorburn mean this show was always going to be a visual treat with an awareness of movements and an absurd theatrical logic. Rose has a wit that stings in equal measure with heart, mind and humour, and Virgins and Cowboys is both brilliant and unpredictable. The set design by Sleswick and Yvette Turnbull has a bright and striking humour all of its own, quirky and consistently poignant. Country music is terrifically played out by sound designer Liam Barton.

The young-centric social commentary of Lena Dunham meets the sexual liberation of Amy Schumer for coffee. Consequentially, Virgins and Cowboys is born; female objectification and rape culture are poised to collapse. Morgan Rose is a biting new name in the Melbourne playwriting community, and she is dreamily matched up with this cast and crew. Would recommend memorising the names of every person involved in this play.

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