Review: A Life In The C*ntry, Buzzcut Festival
3.0Overall Score

Now more than ever, we have begun to appreciate the outdoors as a necessary break from the buzz or mundanity of life. Moving from the city to the country sounds like a great plan when you need a little bit more space and some natural healing, but what if the countryside is just a little bit too… straight and stifling?

A Life In The C*ntry, presented as part of Glasgow’s Buzzcut Festival 2021, tells the story of Cliffdick and Stella, who happen to be the drag personas of Nelly Kelly and Adam Kashmiry. In this 7-minute satirical short, the trans euphoria is truly unleashed!

From afar, Stella is judged by the elderly members of the town – who seem to resemble stuffy characters from Postman Pat – but judged for what? For being colourful, full of expression and for being themselves. The unfortunate reality is that it’s getting Stella down. Just before they tumble into depression and isolation, Cliffdick – a queer fairy goblin – comes to the rescue, and reminds Stella of the power of unapologetic authenticity.

A Life In The C*ntry is pretty entertaining to watch, purely because it’s full of so much joy. Kelly and Kashmiry seem to be having the best time, as they wear their best clothes and whip out some crazy dance moves. (My favourite thing to do.) Be prepared for a dazzling Eurovision-style lip sync in the forest to Loreen’s Euphoria – it’s what we all dream of.

Although there is a story structure with an underlying message of acceptance, it does feel a little short in substance. The delivery is full of juxtaposing styles and features, but I get the impression that that is the intention. It could be a very sneaky metaphor. With snappy, caricature performances and slapstick sound effects, matched with subtle and atmospheric filming, it’s all a bit of a clash for me and verges into being one-dimensional.

In saying that, the sole purpose of A Life In The C*ntry is to spread as much pride and trans positivity as possible. On that, it delivers. We see a lot of stories of hardship from the trans community, and don’t get me wrong, those stories are needed and important, but so are these positive stories of fun. Not every piece of work needs to be a creative or artistic masterpiece, full of deep subtext – sometimes we all just need some light entertainment. And a queer fairy goblin to save the day.

A Life In The C*ntry streamed online as part of the Buzzcut Festival. For more information, see Buzzcut Festival’s website.