Theatre review: Callisto: A Queer Epic

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‘Epic’ is the right word for this ambitious mix of four stories looking at gay relationships across time and in space, loosely connected by the theme of ‘Callisto’, the third largest moon in the solar system.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Pleasance Dome (Venue 23)

Exploring the way gay people, in particular gay women, have been treated over the years, it follows: the star of Cavalli’s opera La Callisto and her illicit relationship with another woman; wartime codebreaker Alan Turing’s friendship with the mother of his lost first love; a porn star in the 1970s who leaves her husband for a woman she meets at ‘Callisto Studios’; and a tale of love in the future inspired by artificial intelligence.

Touching on the way prejudice has changed between the 18th century and the present day, but not really gone away, the jam-packed story often feels like four plays in one.

The cast tackle it with confidence, but Howard Coase’s script, while drawing together important issues in an imaginative way, is too sprawling to do justice to all of the content in just over an hour.

However, the way women’s sexuality has been oppressed and controlled by men over the ages is a particularly interesting element that could, in itself, be developed into a more focused piece.

Until 29 August. 11:50am.

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