Edinburgh Fringe 2018
Jess loves her life and so does Victoria. That is Victoria loves her own life and not Jess’s. Right? Well… They begin by giving their audience the impression that they never had it so good but as they discombobulate and analyse without a couch, they realise that all is not as it was promised for the single girl, or happily married wife. Or is it? Whatever the truth, that’s funny…
Victoria is successful, has two degrees, a PhD and a baby. She has a successful marriage and lives in that kind of house. Jess has eschewed the ties of normalcy and lives life on an edge. That edge includes singledom to the exclusion of any responsibility. We are taken on a stagger through their early lives, their meeting and reunion years later and get to understand that all that glitters are the lies they have told themselves and others. As these lies get stripped away they bring us to the realisation that their perfect lives are myths into which they fell by way of a focus group that never met. The group led to media frenzies and pressure bearing down on young women which is overwhelmingly to conform to being the rebel or mother earth; none of which is realistic nor desirable.
I loved this and laughed heartily at times and I am a man.
What is impressive is that the process through which each of them progress in the mental stripping of their façade does not lead them to find a way to become haters of anyone. They simply realise that this is not what they wanted and they need to simply, stop it.
The mixture of movement, comedy and insight is handled well between two performers who appear to love the material and have invested in the effect it has brought them. There is a genuine warmth between them that helps develop the performance. The script can be, at times, a little uneven in its pitch but where it manages to find a mark it tends to hit it.
Performances shine through and the number of characters that are brought to life as characters rather than caricatures is impressive. I particularly loved the interview with the best use of a banana I have seen this Fringe, so far. With some cracking audience interaction, you always felt cradled in secure hands and the results of rehearsal and discursive investment were genuine funny moments that made you really laugh.
The voice over works very well whilst the looks and gestures onstage cement the feeling that we are in midst of a genuine exploration and conversation happening for the first time; the revelations feel fresh and real.
Set and props are minimal but create and support the right type of atmosphere. That atmosphere manages to expose the mental cruelty of expectation shoved on the shoulders of our young women to be one thing or another whilst most want to be everything in between.
This was a great hour spent in the company of a couple of very able actors who managed to give us a low down and a showdown with the expectations of both women and womanhood. It did so by avoiding the cliché but exposing their effects on what young women can end up doing to themselves and what young women need to do to stand up., be counted and see the cost of conformity. A well worthy hour of exposition…