If you could have everything you ever dreamed of, but had to hide who you were, would you still want it?
BY ZOE WOODRUFF
New musical The Red Side Of The Moon, playing from 12-17 July in Covent Garden, attempts to unpick this very question. In a pre-twitter, pre-instagram, pre-companies-jumping-on-the-Pride-bandwagon-to-make-a-pretty-penny world, the central characters in this new musical are asked just that. Can you be openly queer and in the spotlight?
Beth and Ellen meet at an open mic night in the early 2000’s and are instantly drawn to each other, falling in love before they’ve even realised it. The Red Side Of The Moon is not a coming out story, but rather one about the consequences of staying in. When they are forced to make a decision between fame and each other, a choice has to be made and Ellen feels obligated to be the one to make it. What transpires next leaves both reckoning with the consequences of their love, and learning how to build their lives without it.
We’ve heard it a million times, stories of celebrities with meteoric fame, who are secretly in the closet. Nowadays, they swipe through the dating apps for the elite, where users effectively have to sign an NDA before they’re let in on who’s looking for love, let alone who’s looking for a partner of the same gender. Marry that with the media portrayal of women owning their own sexuality and choices, and you get a molotov cocktail of vindictive headlines and hard to handle moments.
Set in the early 2000’s, at a time when Britney was being vilified for just existing, and Ellen DeGeneres had only just recovered from the fall out of coming out, is it possible for Beth and Ellen to break free from the constraints of fame and live their truths? With everything we know now about the media’s hand in that period of recent history, telling a story that centres female and queer struggles in the entertainment industry is essential to continue to further the narrative.
This show is for audiences of the LGBTQIA+ community, women and the allies that support us. More often than not, we are the demographics that make up swathes of mainstream musical theatre audiences, and yet so rarely are we the focal points of the stories that are told. With theatre’s everywhere proclaiming that they are “coming back differently”, it is time to centre other voices in musical theatre and give those of us who have yet to be heard, a chance to speak.
The Red Side Of The Moon, our debut musical, spans a five year period where our characters learn what it is to have everything and how to recover when you’ve lost it all. Kathryn Tindall (Ellen) and Elinor Peregrin (Beth) play the uplifting and heartfelt score, also written by Tindall, using nothing but their guitars, their voices, and a loop pedal.
Selected as part of Iris Theatre’s Summer Season, a pioneering theatre festival supporting early career artists with space, marketing assistance and a Seed Commission, The Red Side Of The Moon will be performed in the magical gardens of The Actors Church in Covent Garden. The music is folk inspired with rock and pop influences and the story lifts the curtain on the fight for fame when you are ‘other’ than what people expect pop stars to be. It is the perfect way to spend a summer evening easing out of lockdown, and we can’t wait to take you on the journey with us.
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