FringeReview Scotland 2023
Danny is a woman asking a lot of questions, of herself, of her flatmate and of us all. She takes us through a monologue with a number of repeating features designed to anchor the narrative and guide us through her being queer. We begin with a discussion with her absent flatmate over how queer she is and how queer she needs to be. Drawing us into a series of observations and worries, Danny covers such diverse topics as their first official gay relationship, the What is Gay Game Show, getting chlamydia, going to a birthday party, avoiding your mother when she seems to know when not to phone, but phones, the death of Snuggle Paws, prenatal yoga and finding yourself pregnant. It all ends with us still asking questions.
Ultimately the message that, not feeling queer enough is the queerest thing you could be is quite a sweet takeaway, and one, by the end, I could really buy into. This did tend to meander a little, intrigue a lot, miss a few targets but ultimately entertained in a very effective way but, ironically, seemed to be searching for its own climax; and didn’t really make it.
Over the piece this worked. It had a decent performer in Kate Hammer who is a real raconteur. I got to see the preview so there were a few rough around the edges moments in terms of it being tight enough and polished enough for public view but Hammer can really tell a tale. They have presence and with that the ability to spot the highs and lows and weave amongst them in the telling of what they have to say.
If Hammer the performer, has it, she needs a word with Hammer, the writer. Not a brutal one, nor one likely to cause offence, but a serious talk about structure. This felt too loose that needed a stronger structure as it seemed to lose itself in amongst its own reverence. It was not overly indulgent, but it did seem to pack so much in I was beginning to feel, towards the end, it was not quite seeing its own point. There were, what appeared to me, some in jokes with the audience. It was a good crowd, but a neutral crowd might not feel as engaged. The enthusiastic support and reactions here will disappear but what you need in a preview – a mix of a good crowd to send you on your way, and a critical friend to help cut through the applause and cheers.
The direction was sound. Loved the projections, think they could make more of them, and set pieces – the party, the gym toilet, headphones and asking questions, the chlamydia inspection were particular favourites – but thought the use of props could be more seamlessly integrated. Though the piece with the cigarettes was beautifully done, there was a bit of a faff at the beginning in finding them which seemed to be a theme – could do with just tightening up – and more performances will bring that.
Technically there was plenty to admire as it was well supported, even with a few minor hiccups.
There was a lot to admire in this and I did admire it. There is a lot to tighten up and you get the feeling that if they can get this piece to this level prior to taking it out on the road, the road shall provide them with an opportunity to make it that bit better, and they may well have a hit ion their hands – despite the fact it is a loaded subject and a very busy field out there – this is a worthy addition.