Chloe Petts: Transience, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

As “the man she always wanted to be”, Chloe Petts is a devoted Crystal Palace football fan who embraces and is (mostly) embraced by lad culture. Her fellow season ticket holders who sit nearby, all very manly men, accept her as one of their own but she has issues when she goes to the loo. Over the course of this low-key hour Petts considers the effects of whether she is perceived as a woman or a man by those around her, and how this relates to the right-wing instigated culture war about trans people. It’s a pointed, provocative and very funny debut with heaps of promise.

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Kickass Divas, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Romy Foster

This new musical showcases the lives of five fabulous, historical women through the framework of two young people experiencing an interactive museum. The show is filled with catchy, original numbers and engaging choreography with prominent musical motifs that thread through the performance.

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Sap, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

Bisexual women are rarely represented in theatre, particularly in a way that doesn’t brush them off as indecisive, slutty or secretly straight or gay. Rafaella Marcus’ unnamed protagonist (played by Jessica Clark) is none of these things. The charity worker genuinely fancies and can fall in love with both women and men. The violence and biphobia she encounters is real, too. Using symbolic imagery, narration and dialogue, the fully-realised character captures the authentic complexities of living and loving as a bi woman.

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This Is Paradise, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

Kate is a 30-something woman in Belfast expecting her first child with her husband, Brendy. At the same time, Northern Ireland and its political parties have announced that peace is finally coming. Though Kate and her country should be looking forward, she is troubled by recurring abdominal pain and memories from her past that threaten the peace she has made for herself.

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I Can’t Hear You, Theatre503

by Laura Kressly

After Ash and Lucy hook up after work drinks, things quickly get serious between the two young call centre workers. Initially they can’t get enough of each other, but something shifts between them after a homophobic attack on a night out. Their different responses ultimately drive a wedge between them, though underneath this conflict there is genuine and joyful queer love.

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Favour, Bush Theatre

by Zahid Fayyaz

This is a brand new play, co-commissioned by the Bush Theatre and Clean Break Theatre Company. Clean Break was formed in 1979, and focuses on given women, who have experienced the justice and prison systems, opportunities to work and tell their stories through theatre and performance. This particular story focuses on the release of Aleena from prison, and how this release impacts her daughter Leila, who was been living with Noor, her grandmother during Aleena’s imprisonment. There is a clash of philosophies between the traditional Noor and the freer-spirited and highly strung Aleena, with family secrets threatening to come to a head.

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One-Woman Show, Soho Theatre

One-Woman Show Written and performed by Liz Kingsman - Soho Theatre

by Laura Kressly

Over the latter part of the previous decade, a particular demographic raved about the relateability of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag on both stage and screen. This show voiced the sexually liberated, highly educated, white, middle-class millennial women who, though not lacking in representation, felt their plight was previously ignored. Brought up on the mantra that success is theirs to be had, neoliberal capitalism means they now angrily navigate a world that isn’t as easy as expected. Yet despite the difficulties of adulting, their privilege rightly invites critique. Liz Kingsman’s satire of one-woman shows does just that, along with taking aim at the tropes that many one-woman shows rely on. She eviscerates them wholeheartedly using comedy and metatheatre to hilarious effect.

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In Bad Taste, Bread and Roses Theatre

In Bad Taste – The Bread & Roses Theatre, London - The Reviews Hub

by Diana Miranda

The stage is flooded in red light, ‘angry-chick’ music plays, and four women (Rachel Ferguson, Kirby Merner, Léonie Crawford and Chloe Pidhoreckyj) are eating what looks like chorizo slices with their faces pierced by disgust, fear, sadness, and anger.  I feel like I might be watching the B+15 rated version of Pixars’ Inside Out, specifically the inside of an angry, feminist cannibal. Just when I wonder where Joy is, a frenzied character bursts in (Daisy Kelly, also the playwright), bringing some more food that the group rejects. We discover that it’s the flesh of a banker they’re eating, supposedly as a stand against capitalism. Violet, who kindled the revolutionary spark but is now sat silently, is forced to confess that it was not her rebellious spirit that inspired her but an episode of sexual harassment from the banker, also her former boss.  

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Tokyo Rose, Curve Leicester

Curve Theatre / Tokyo Rose

by Olivia Rose Deane

Burnt Lemon have taken their acclaimed 2019 Edinburgh Fringe hit Tokyo Rose on the road with a retooled cast, score and book and a good deal of anticipation. The bones of this new version of the show remain the same, telling the story of Iva Toguri, a Japanese-American radio journalist wrongly convicted of treason in 1945. As in the original, themes include xenophobia, cultural identity, and scapegoating, all with a six-strong female cast. The show opens with the high-energy and undeniably catchy “Hello America” – attention well and truly grabbed. Unfortunately, the number also represents the pinnacle of what is otherwise a flat, one-note production. The book (by Baldwin and Yoon) is generally good, retaining some of the smart, self-referential moxie that made the show charming in 2019, but is let down by the weakness of the score.

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Through the Mist, Clean Break Studios

Review: Through This Mist, Clean Break, London

by Laura Kressly

As part of Clean Break’s 40th anniversary celebrations, this outdoor, in-person production showcases some of the work the company created over the past year. The collection of short monologues created by Clean Break members and associate artists all share stories of loss, isolation and loneliness, which are further contextualised by lived experiences of incarceration. The character-driven pieces are remarkable examples of human resilience in the face of systemic oppression and a criminal justice system that is punitive and cruel.

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