When handsome bandit Jack Cannon swaggers into a sleepy town in the Wild West, their explosive arrival inspires a gender revolution and starts a fire under the petticoat of every one of the town's repressed inhabitants.
An explosion of trans and non-binary joy, Cowbois is a humorous and touching exploration of the double meaning behind the word ‘queer'. This show is an exploration of what it's like to be queer in a tiny progressive town that's part of a much wider heteronormative society, and what it might be like for such a small town to be so far ahead of its times and the rest of the world around it. It is exceedingly clever to witness the merging of some more modern-day issues with the backdrop of navigating a period of Western civilisation.
The design, by Grace Smart, creates an aesthetic of utter perfection. Anyone with scenic art experience will take one look at the vintage and bare brick feel of the set and know just how complicated these effects are to achieve, and yet Ma; Mounsey and team make it seem simple and effortless. This, combined with every delicately chosen costume, and lighting detail (designed by Simeon Miller and programmed by Lucinda Plummer) makes this show a truly beautiful piece of art before the first is was even uttered.
Children demonstrate every day that hatred has always been a learnt behaviour, and while this show delves into societal differences throughout history, it also serves as a constant reminder that hate still exists in the world because it's being taught to the younger generations. Kid's reac#on to Lou (Lee Braithwaite) changing his name, clothing, and pronouns, is one of the most genuine, wholesome, and indeed accurate moments I think a piece of theatre has ever managed to portray.
There isn't a whole lot that hasn't been done in the theatre world, and the pool for new ideas is getting shallower and shallower, making it much more difficult for creatives to create something new. I definitely think that Cowbois has a place in the theatre world at the moment, and it's quite unlike anything that has been done before.
It runs until 10 February.
Review: Rachel Sarah Leveney - @rachelsarah.lev