Reviewer: David Doyle
Julia Croft’s exploration of the male gaze and the subjugation of women within mainstream society is a timely if somewhat predictable exploration of an important subject matter. From musicto film, the show uses recognisable moments from pop culture history to unpack their impact on women and wider society. It’s a clever structure and one that allows for some enjoyable as well as illuminating moments but too often beset by predictability, and technical problems, the show never quite delivers the knockout blow it needs to.
Croft’s performance throughout is engaging and her use of the audience is one of the most interesting aspects of the piece. Her ability to involve audience members in the piece in a way that implicates them in proceedings is an inventive, and successful one that mirrors our own implicit involvement in societal structures. This structure is the crux of the piece and shows the real potential it has.
The piece is likewise weakest when Croft isn’t centre stage. Large sections of the piece rely on theprojection of pieces of film that invariably run too long, becoming tedious in the process. Likewise at several moments recorded elements are too difficult to hear, meaning their importance to the piece is lost. As the show builds to its final moments, it is rather anticlimactic, and an ending that seemed inevitable from the first moments is all we’re left with.
Astute looks at motifs such as the final girl trope of horror films feel like they’ve been done better before but it is Croft’s tying them together to form a broader picture that is what’s intriguing about the piece. A serious subject matter that could too easily slip into the maudlin is handled well by Croft as she continually keeps it entertaining. A piece with real potential but beset by problems that make it difficult to fully enjoy.
Runs until 28 August 2016 (not 22)