Edinburgh Fringe 2017
An entertaining yet heartfelt solo show, exploring the treatment of women onscreen and off in the US entertainment industry. Heather’s adventures as an actress interweave with calls back home to her mother, a traditional Southern Belle.
Lemonade is a show that sparkles, fizzes and pops. Litteer’s performance is full on, forceful and mesmerising. She is seduces us with her sexuality and lithe physicality, titillates us with glimpses of naked flesh, gets made up and dressed up before our very eyes and then just when we are entranced by all this show biz glamour whips the rug out from under our feet with a graphic display of the objectification of women in a B movie. Caught forever on celluloid, lodged on Youtube, clips shared and poured over by grubby men; it haunts Heather. She is typecast as a goodtime girl, a hooker, a women without character name flashing past at the bottom of the credits.
Litteer’s past life is laid bare for us to pick over the bones. In interviews she has said that it was therapeutic writing this show and as a viewer (voyeur?) it is sometimes difficult to watch. Each vignette is powerful in its own right but how much it adds up to a complete satisfying show is debateable. There is a good drama in there somewhere but the material needs editing, the stories corralling, her director needs to cast a more objective eye. It is also irritating to have an actor facing away from you for the sustained opening section of a performance – turn the dressing table round to face the audience!
When she does give us her full attention Litteer is incredibly watchable as she strides, shimmies and drapes like velvet. She excels in the final drawn portrait of her mother, a woman conducting a cloying long distance relationship with her daughter, worried and maternal and very much the block that her child is a chip off. Here the performance and the writing combine beautifully.
It is flawed show and yet the theme it explores stays with you, gets under your skin. Picture the scene an Edinburgh bar midday, 2017, the TV on mute. On screen a pop song video starring a fully clothed man driving a performance car, the camera focused on his face, shows us his nice suit, while around him women are draped over car bonnets, hang on his arm, lean out of doorways, ample displays of flesh and up and under come hither looks. Litteer challenges our acceptance of this status quo, gives a loud rallying cry to take control of your own body and image – and life.