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30 and Out comes to Edinburgh Fringe | Review

I don’t think I’ve heard an account of what it means to come out quite like this one before. There are stories about nervous teenagers finding their feet in the queer community, some of whom are so young they technically shouldn’t have attended Pride unaccompanied, but who are nonetheless made to feel welcome by, as it were, ‘the kindness of strangers’. It wasn’t quite like that for Kit Sinclair, because, for reasons explained in the narrative, she only came out at the age of thirty. Of course, many aspects of her story are similar: for instance, she eventually realises that coming out is not a one-off occurrence – people in the LGBTQ+ community find themselves coming out again and again, pretty much every time a new introduction is made.

30 & OutHaving lived the straight life for – well, thirty years, it’s one thing to have head knowledge of the sorts of challenges the queer community faces, despite anti-discrimination legislation and widespread condemnation whenever homophobia manifests itself, but quite another to acquire lived experiences. There might have been a eureka moment when she discovered she is a lesbian, but it was a while before she could bring herself to say the word without hesitation.

The story is not just about her own experiences. Recordings of other lesbians providing the production team with details about key moments in their lives do much to resolve the perennial problem with single-performer shows, namely the provision of a single perspective. The performance I attended was supertitled, as are all of them, a good move in a live theatre industry that still largely confines such access arrangements to certain performances only.

The show is quite revelatory. I hadn’t realised, for instance, that She Soho (referred to in this production as ‘She Bar’) on Old Compton Street is the only lesbian bar in central London, or that the average person (I don’t know, alas, how ‘average person’ is defined) in their thirties has apparently had nineteen sexual partners to date. Not every minute detail made sense to me – why must she stop listening to Ed Sheeran just because she is now a lesbian? – but this is, nonetheless, an honest and unflinching play, intriguing and entertaining from start to finish.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

30 and Out is a hilarious, sexy and painful portrayal of what it means to start life all over again.
This filthy and funny show explores what it means to be a lesbian, to lose yourself and find yourself again, all set against the backdrop of turning 30. Using touching interviews, innovative projection and powerful storytelling, 30 and Out is a memorable journey of mayhem and struggle that honours the complexity of queer identity.

Producer Rebecca Prentice (she/her)
Writer/Performer Kit Sinclair (she/he/they)
Director Charlotte Ive (she/her)
Composer and Sound Designer Nicola T. Chang (she/her)
Video and Lighting Designer Rachel Sampley (she/her)
Movement Consultant Lolo Brow (they/them)
Technical Stage Managers Roshan Conn (she/her) and Han Sayles (they/them)

Baby Grand, Pleasance Courtyard, 12:45 (60 mins)
2-28 August 2023
https://www.edfringe.com/

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