FringeReview UK 2015
The Hiccup Project‘s Chess recently discovered her diary from the age of 10, devoted entirely to the detailed records of her many loves. Years later, the ones we lust after still take a disproportionately large chunk of our talking time and mental space (even if we don’t like to admit it!). We find ourselves on the jangly merry go round of romance. We are enthralled by romantic experiences yet flummoxed and irritated by the whole charade. Are we enjoying it? Yes. Does it make sense? No. But, round and round we go…’.
This is the second time I have seen May We go Round, and I enjoyed it even more this time. Tweaks and refinements have intensified this piece, adding quality to this fresh and innovative physical performance.
Themes of Feminism run quietly but clearly throughout…in many ways this entire piece is an essay on what it means to be a woman in todays’ society.
This show isn’t anti-men or anti-relationships however. Far from it. This show is a celebration of friendship, of love and lust in all its messy and confusing forms. It’s about not avoiding the pain of seeking out and connecting. It’s about enjoying the tangled delirious mess of it all and not taking it all too seriously. It’s about letting go, but not being detached. It’s about being conscious of being on the merry go round, but enjoying the ride.
Tender friendship is the anchoring thread throughout this piece…watching this makes us want to BE their best friend…to go through the same heartbreaks and embarrassments…just for the joy of sharing it all with another human being willing to love us in all our vulnerability. What we keep coming back to is that the truest love is seen in their care for each other. This is not the moral of the story though as this friendship is founded in being a launchpad for exciting and heart-breaking adventures…because the other knows they can always come home to a safe harbour…a sure shoulder to wipe mascara stained eyes on…a laughing hand to tease out of a melancholic sulk…
This allowing of vulnerability…of shame and embarrassment and rejection is what starts to make this piece really stand out and it has improved as a result as the performers have explored this more…I would love to see even more of this vulnerability to take this show further.
The themes throughout explore modern expectations of sexual attractiveness and seductive behaviour, and at the way that women hide their shame and vulnerability through using sex as a powerful, yet vengeful tool. As they weaved in and out through many flavours of feminine and masculine sexuality using captivating dance and hilarious clowning we see sometimes how aggressive sexually seductive behaviour can be used as a shield. The performers take us through what seem to be autobiographical depictions of shame, pain, embarrassment…fully and honestly…making us cringe and smile knowingly in recognition. And always with such lightness and humour, we don’t get bogged down in too much individual heartbreak; the girls have processed, felt it, and moved on and sprang back.
The soundtrack throughout is perfectly chosen, mirroring the narrative and adding to excitement and fantasy and also softening energy where needed. Equally so the lighting adds emphasis and dramatic nuance at key moments. The spaces in the piece lent weight to the narrative, starkly lit silent moments allowed a breath, a pause, a reflection…a step outside of the dreamy franticness of fantasy…a cold awakening of the morning after.
There is a moment, in quietness and we hear the echo of “Chess and Ben are nothing”…allowing a reflection on what actually is a relationship and how we are defined in one and whether this is an old narrative ready to be crumbled and dissolved as a new wave of relating and connection emerges.
We are taken so beautifully and poignantly through the safety net of friendship…reminding us of how our friends can pick up the pieces when we are lost and full of despair…how those who are close to us can accept us in ways that perhaps we will never be accepted in a romantic relationship or a marriage.
I am reminded of a quote,
“Crawl inside this body, Find me where I am most ruined.
Love me there”
In a way the girls are showing us a possibility that only friendship can love this deeply and unconditionally.
Connection, between men and women, men and men, women and women, is about encouraging the other to dance through the sadness and pain…and Chess and Christina inhabit the stage fully with this embodiment of loyal connection, to the point where we aren’t sure where theatre ends and real life begins. This piece, autobiographical and raw, is played lightly, making gentle mocking on seductive behaviour, stripping it back to the cold stark moment, the ridiculousness and inevitability of it all. The water bottle scene is a delight.
The girls laughing and skipping is the true state of their being, the rest is all a game of power and insecurity…yet this isn’t a purist lecture on celibacy…the energy of this performance opens up the possibility of diving fully and joyfully into the experiences of the heart. Being willing to trip over, to be rejected, to look silly…this is all to be embraced.
This is a feminist, empowering piece of theatre that manages to avoid self-righteousness or even a sense that they have it all figured out…they don’t…we are just invited along for the messy ride of it all.
They inhabit the skins of the various loves and flirtations, their very being obscured in all the weight of the other…we see them suffocating and being perplexed until they finally accept their power and rip off the shackles (and knitted jumpers) of expectation.
They sell the benefits of singledom…fun and flirting and freedom! But they also evoke the dreamy deliciousness of love and lust and new beginnings.
These girls, in the space of a little over an hour, manage to squash the princess fairy-tale and turn it all upside down. We see through them how woman can be without the historical confines of our recent past. We see the possibility of an untamed, expressive and exploring woman. We see that women have no need any more to follow a predictable cultural path.
A mirror of all the faces of love, attraction, lust and flirtation becomes also a comment on shallow pop music that reduces women to yearning two dimensionally after a man to ‘complete’ them…the joy of this work is when the performers recognise the bizarre nature of romantic courtship and how women so easily give their power away.
This is wild and untamed woman of 2015…diving fully into love and lustful exploration…crying heart broken and then leaping up and letting go and diving in again…no dust covered Miss Havershams here. Allow yourselves to be taken on an energetic, compelling, hilarious journey and witness two young talented and feisty women come into their own definitions of femininity.
It’s the only way to be.