Tuesday, May 28

Cowbois – Royal Court

This is my desert island show. It’s only January and I’ve discovered the best play of 2024. Charlie Josephine (writer and co-director) finds a very welcoming new home in the Royal Court after their run before Christmas in Stratford-upon-Avon. We explore the Wild West, a struggling town after the ‘husbands’ of the town go off in search for gold and more supplies. The ‘Wives’ are left waiting but in hearing news of a nearby explosion, hold no hope in their return.

Miss Lillian (Sophie Melville) holds the bar while her husband is away- praying every morning for his return when news of the famous criminal ‘Jack’ (Vinnie Heaven) is on route to town.

What unfolds is a beautiful release between two people finding their joy, passion and reason to feeling happy and being alive. This town is transformed by Jack and their kindness to authenticity without judgement. The people of the town for the first time in their lives are the happiest they have ever been, accepted and loved completely. Until the men come home.

Photo: Henri T @ RSC

Act 2 throws us back into the strict, regimented laws of society but this time the new way of living is worth fighting for. And dying for. Miss Lillian and all the wives experience suffocation of who they are, constantly receiving criticism of their opinion until they cannot take it anymore. The play resolves during a massive shoot-out with each character resolving their particular quarrels and questions, each coming to the solution that this particular choice makes them happy- they are finally who they are inside- outside.

Each character serves complete purpose and tell beautiful perspective of all types of pressure we feel in gender conformity like pressure to drink alcohol, restricting to certain garments and the rules applied to ‘husband’ and ‘wife’.

It’s an absolute gift that this transfer was made, the atmosphere is energetic and powerful. Live music underscores allowing moments of song, dance and celebration. And of course, we get to see some line dancing.

Costume is such a huge part of this piece, to see the moment the town finally reflect themselves in the outfits that they wear is such a relief for us to see how expressive and free they become. The saturation and beautifully designed garments (designer Grace Smart) look stunning on stage, it’s inspiring to see their authenticity.

This is a complete must-see show, be a part of their story and fall in love with people falling in love with themselves. Empowering and sexy!

Where is this town? I want to come live with you.

Playing until 10th February 2024, https://royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/cowbois/

Reviewer: Alice Rose

Reviewed: 18th January 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.