BBC Radio 4: Woman’s hour | Review

BBC Radio 4: Woman’s Hour | Review

Feminism through the eye of satire, song and crumpet

Live at the MAC • 09 September 2016

By Gemma McSherry

Sometimes it’s hard to talk about feminism. Lots of women avoid the topic, for lack of engagement or fear of seeming unattractive or difficult to their male counterparts, due to media propaganda about what a women should or shouldn’t be or simply because they don’t feel it’s relevant to them; it’s some distant subject or concept like the trouble in the Middle East or vaginal steaming. So you can imagine how reassuring it is it is to have spent one hour exactly in a theatre full of people watching a show based entirely around feminism, by feminists – as a feminist.

The show opens with some simple, slapstick humour, one would imagine this gives the actors, ruthlessly exposed to the audience from the second you enter the theatre, an opportunity to gage what type of audience is in that night and understands which parts to play up or being down. The performers themselves are rarely still throughout the hour; it’s a fact commonly known that for something to appear thrown together and messy a truly exhausting amount of rehearsal and planning must go into it and as these actors pull this off seamlessly it’s a testament to their comic timing, versatility and flexibility within their roles.

The show is largely a comedic physical theatre piece combined with song, audience interaction, musical instruments. Touching on subject matter as diverse as tampoon tax (of course) to gendered kinder eggs to domestic violence to vouchers for children’s bikini waxing, it’s certainly gong to be a head first dive for anyone new to more unconventional theatre and ballsy feminist women (if you can be ‘new’ to that!) It’s a refreshing show, and something I wish there was more of in Belfast, although with that said, we do have a pretty strong track record of representing women in the arts well. It’s impossible to leave this show without an opinion or an idea or a sense of reassurance and as a hilarious piece of theatre in its own right, it really is a joy to attend.

Anything that inspires the young college students beside me, who were scrolling on their phones and commenting on selfies just before to begin writing down statements like “WOMEN’S RIGHTS” (underlined), “gendered products, Why?” And “George Osbourne – tampons” (a personal favourite) will always fill me with joy, hope and a sense of relief that whilst at times being a feminist can feel like a struggle and be exhausting one thing you are not, is alone.

 

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