The Coming Out Play

Melanie Coffey
The Farewell Girls
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The Coming Out Play

Melanie Coffey’s The Coming Out Play was originally due to be staged at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe but moves smoothly online.

Lucy (Audrey Ney) is killing time in a coffee shop being too early for an appointment she is dreading. Not only is Lucy bisexual, she hopes to marry her girlfriend. Lucy is worried as to how her parents will react to the news as they are devout Catholics who opine non-heterosexuals simply need to "pray harder". Lucy seeks inspiration from historical gay and bisexual women to help build the courage needed for the confrontation.

Melanie Coffey’s script is not particularly dramatic and works best as a celebration of the lives of historical gay and bisexual women. Lucy seems hesitant rather than tormented about her personal crisis. The examples used in the play feel like factual statements and, although they are interesting and often moving or poetic, they do not build a sense of momentum to push Lucy towards her decision. It is a very balanced play almost as if Coffey does not wish to cause offence. Lucy points out not all Catholics share the extreme views of her parents.

Although the script is low-key, Audrey Ney revels in Lucy’s sexuality detailing the lives of the women who have influenced her with eagerness, even passion. Ney draws a steely resolution from Lucy making her final decision credible and moving.

Reviewer: David Cunningham