Adelaide Fringe Review: DIRT exposes the dark side of Russia’s gay rights


DIRT is the story of an Australian tourist, played by Will King, travelling in Moscow who hooks up with the local tour guide (Patrick Livesey). The romantic interplay between the two evolves over the course of the performance, but each has a hidden story that gradually unfolds.

The play is set in contemporary Russia and focuses on the persecution of homosexuals as part of the Chechen Gay Purges. One of the main questions that the play asks is “what responsibilities do we really have to one another?” This could be addressing human rights abuses in many and all forms, such as the persecution of minorities, the handling of refugees or embedded cultural “norms” that are out of sync with the modern world. What right do outsiders have to dictate the lives of others?

The play is written by emerging queer playwright Angus Cameron and the dialogue is flawless with every word belonging, every nuance important and every action building the tension. Director Bronwen Coleman has executed an immaculate construction that had the audience enthralled the whole play.

The set is simple and stark, a few pieces of furniture that with the right lighting and soundscape were transformed from a train station to a bar to a bedroom to a nightclub toilet. The story-line is as engaging as a Russian thriller.

The two actors are partners in real life, and their presence on stage together was impeccable. The cat and mouse game that they both played in their own way was understated yet riveting. There were some genuine heart-racing moments that gave the performance true depth and soul.

DIRT is a powerful play that explores a difficult subject with humour and compassion.


Dirt runs at the Adelaide Fringe until March 21st. For more information and to grab a ticket to one of the remaining performances head HERE.

The author attended the performance on 28th February.