Critical Mass and Palash Dave, are delighted to announce casting for Lipstick: A Fairy Tale of Iran.

Lipstick is the headline play of the Clapham Omnibus 96 Festival and runs from 26th Feb – 24th March. Part theatre, part drag cabaret, Lipstick: A Fairy Tale of Iran fuses storytelling, vaudeville, theatre, lip-sync and boylesque in a story of rage, redemption and weaponised whimsy, which straddles Tehran, Derry and London.

In 2010, just after the contested 2009 Iranian election, during riots urging the removal of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office, writer/director Sarah Chew went to Iran on a theatre residency. The experience changed her life. Lipstick: a fairy tale of modern Iran is inspired by that time, driven by the passionate desire to address the rise in hard borders and cultural and ethnic exclusion –
from a political and from a personal perspective. Lipstick is about how it feels to be making sincere, charged, powerful art, even under the threat of censorship and imprisonment. At that time, Iran was part of a collection of Middle Eastern territories the US Government still titled “the Axis of Evil”. Prior to visiting, this title had coloured Sarah’s assumptions of what she would find there – assumptions which were challenged, on a daily basis, throughout her stay. When she got home, Lipstick, was born.


“So, I live with this geeky, kind of brilliant boy.
Every night, the clock chimes midnight, and this boy turns into the most beautiful woman in all the world.
And the most beautiful woman in all the world is a sorceress, a real one, and she
promises us everything, promises us the right to be everything, all equally available,
all equally valid, all equally beautiful.
It’s gorgeous.
Just, it’s a fairytale.
And that makes me scared that it’s b*llocks.”

When you observe atrocity, it can be a challenge to make the memories fit together. What was it you actually saw? What are you
meant to do with it? What are you meant to do with the life you left behind?

London. Summer 2010. Orla and Mark cordially invite you to the grand opening of their fabulous new drag bar.
There’s one problem. Orla has just returned from witnessing a failed revolution. By accident.

“Now, here in Britain we’ve just an election where everybody argued about who won. Nothing much
happened: Gordon Brown looked bewildered for a few days, and then we got a coalition. But in Iran, there
were riots, and lots of people died. It was a unique moment. I was there. Not many British people got to
be there at that time. Actually, not a lot of British people get to be there ever”

Sarah says “Sadly, we don’t have to look too far outside the edges of our own nation to see borders that threaten our capacity to engage with people we see as different to ourselves. As Brexit looms ever closer, what is it doing to our perceptions of people we see as Other? What does the threat of a hard border in Ireland do to our already heightened fear of terrorism?
What role does tightened immigration here, and our Government’s tacit acceptance of Trump’s travel bans in the US, play in this? How do we fight to keep our personal, emotional borders open, while all around us, governments build physical and ideological walls? And what does our Foreign Office’s apparent abandonment of British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, currently imprisoned without
fair trial in Tehran’s notorious Evin Women’s Prison, say about our national attitudes to those on the wrong side of a difficult border?
What power do we have to say: not in my name?”

LIPSTICK: A Fairy Tale of Iran

26th Feb – 24th March 2019

OMNIBUS THEATRE 1 Clapham Common Northside, London SW4 0QW

Press Night – Thursday 28th February 2019

Tue-Sat 7.30PM, Sun 4PM

Tickets: £16, £13