Creators: Dylan Coburn Gray, Claire Galvin and Leah Minto
Reviewer: Caitriona Reilly
B(r)itches is a performance which plays with the conventions of theatre and poses what actors are prepared to do for the sake of their art / money.
The performance offers the audience a look into the realm behind the stage: inside the rehearsal room and drama school workshops. The Brunette One (Leah Minto) and The Blonde One (Claire Galvin) flick through a flip chart which contains absurd directions which they must obey. Different instructions include ‘Perform a sex scene’; ‘Slap Her’; ‘Do Brecht’; and ‘Do Shakespeare’. Through the performance Minto and Galvin go through different sketches and scenarios which sees them gender bending and asking each other would they rather be the “shit bag lady” or “syphilis” lady in an either a constipation or STD awareness advertisement.
It is a quirky performance containing manic multi-roling “characters” and a humming lighting technician Ciarán (Gallagher) who appears on stage as a broom. The performance is devoid of any real plot, rather it is a series of improvised scenarios. Minto and Galvin make for an entertaining duo but it is Galvin who is particularly ridiculous playing up her native Cork accent and clumsiness.
B(r)itches would appear to draw its name from the American feminist performance group, Split Britches. As such, there was an expectation that this performance would in some way allude to the American troupe and their emphasis on lesbian/feminist practice. The performance was instead a caricature which deconstructed the illusions of theatre and theatre history without offering any real critique of the processes or theatrical forms.
The performance is funny and silly but contrary to the programme notes, it misses the mark on being ‘thought provoking’. The pace of the performance often went awry. The re-interpretation and repetition of the various scenarios lacked imagination and as such the action became stagnant. This reviewer was instead looking to the flipchart to be changed so the performers would move on to something else. One could ask whether the scenarios given to the performers were really original. Drama students are all too familiar with Brecht and Shakespeare. While it may be fun to bastardize the classics, it does not take long before it seems a little tedious.
B(r)itches is a peculiar but entertaining performance. The performance lacks consistency in pace with certain moments falling flat amid the repetition of scenarios. The rigmarôle aside from the scenario action is where the performance really thrives especially with the comic quips of Minto and Galvin. The performance will make you laugh but it is lacking that extra sparkle of mischief and ingenuity which would otherwise make is a great performance.
Photo courtesy of Tiger Dublin Fringe. Runs until 20th September.