Brighton Fringe 2018
“Gender exploration, physical exasperation, breast manipulation. Stuck between the gender binary and armed with only a pair of boxers and a photo of a male model, one individual sets out on a violently hilarious attempt to fit.
A one-person gender-messing physical comedy exploring gender expression and identity through slapstick and wit. Drawing upon the performer’s own experience of dysphoria and identity, the result is a subtly trans, hilarious and warmhearted performance.”
Miranda Porter has a problem, well, two to be exact. Envious of the male physique and his ability to be flat-tering, there are a couple of small issues to overcome. In this fun, fantastic, physical theatre piece-de-resistance Miranda Porter tackles the very heavy subject matter of gender fluidity with a lighthearted work-day comedy about the very real and in this case quite literal challenge of fitting in.
Turning the motivational poster trope on its head, Miranda find theirself envious of the midsection of a boxer clad model which demonstrates what it’s like to be “ready for business”, but their envy isn’t the six pack abs or muscles bulging Adonis-like, no, our business suit clad pro is envious of the flat, chiseled chest. They have a problem, how to achieve that same boardroom look before the big staff meeting, and time is running out.
What follows is nothing short of hilariously brilliant and exemplifies how a bit of play and experimentation can result in something utterly unexpected and joyful. There should be more play in the world and Miranda absolutely exemplifies an infectious, enthusiastic tenacity which wins over even the most reserves audience member who might feel a bit tentative at the (quite literally) unbridled boobs which act as secondary actors to Miranda’s genius. There would be the temptation by this reviewer to make a series of bad puns about breasts but that would diminish the artistry and care taken in this show.
There is nothing gratuitous about Miranda’s full-frontal performance. With limited dialogue, Miranda treats us to a work day unlike any other we’ve experienced, though there is the obligatory trip to the copy machine. The office affords a plethora of binding options for our struggling protagonist, from desktops and walls, to tape rolls and cringe inducing staplers, and Miranda culls every laugh from this fruitful corporate playground, some moments predictable, others entirely unexpected, with even the most traditional comic motif made fresh in the skilled hands of our stalwart office staffer.
Part clown, part physical theatre artist, and combining storytelling, audience participation and even a bit of vaudeville slapstick, Miranda stands out as a modern day Lucille Ball or as one enthusiastic viewer put it, “Like a Mr. Bean with boobs,” even engaging in a bit of puppetry of the parts. What is most impressive is how this bit of seeming frivolity carries a deeper message about diversity, acceptance, and the struggles of gender fluidity, presented in a form accessible to nearly anyone. Miranda achieves the creation of a safe space to look, and question, experiment, and laugh without fear of ridicule or retribution. This is a smartly sophisticated, surprisingly body positive performance that I’d be happy to share with everyone from my husband to my Gran.