DIRT is a thriller like no other. Set in modern day Moscow, an Australian tourist goes out for a drink with his Russian tour guide and as the night goes on secrets are revealed and true colours are shown.

Written by emerging queer playwright Angus Cameron and directed by Bronwen Coleman, it’s a tense yet insightful look at how gay people manage to live in a society where their sexuality is illegal and forced behind closed doors and the naivety of the outsiders looking in.

Patrick Livesey and Wil King, partners in life and acting together on the stage for the first time, are brilliant. Livesey as the arrogant Russian tour guide and King as the earnestly curious tourist, their chemistry is electric and with minimal props and set can create a world that is totally believable. Whether the scenes are set in a nightclub cubicle or a bedroom, their talent really takes you there.

DIRT raises important issues around the persecution of gay people in Russia, but conversely it also takes aim at how Australia’s policies on asylum seekers and class division are viewed by other cultures unfavourably as well.

With many twists and turns, DIRT keeps you on your toes throughout. And just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, things turn upside down again. It makes for compelling theatre and it’s clear to see why this is a top pick at Adelaide Fringe 2021.

***** Five stars.

DIRT is showing at Holden Street Theatres until March 21. Get your tickets here.