DramaNorth WestReview

Private View – Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

Reviewer: Hannah Hiett

In among the cover bands and stand-up comedy nights that make up the bulk of the season at Sale’s Waterside Arts Centre, is a small but powerful line-up of new theatre talent that is on it’s way up. Waterside is fast emerging as a ‘you saw them here first’ venue for Manchester, and Plunge Theatre are no exception.

Private View is about (and, to be honest, for) twenty-something women, made by a group of twenty-something women. It’s nothing at all like Girls, but it is funny, honest, excruciatingly revealing and – best of all – surprising.

The most interesting thing about Private View is how it highlights the pressure to seek sexual validation from A Man – perhaps The Man, or maybe just Men. A big-brother style observer, imagined sitting just beyond the glare of the lights, acts as judge in a nightmarish beauty contest. If the three women on-stage don’t ‘do sexy’, he (and it’s difficult not presume it’s a ‘he’) shuts their lights down, cutting them off from view. When they pout, arch their backs, flash flesh and rasp in French-accented bedroom voices, he rewards them with a moment in the sun. As the invisible presence becomes more demanding, they tire, become scared, confused and eventually rebel.

Using verbatim text, physical comedy, incredible facial expressions and lots and lots of cake, Private View is an angry, intellectually vigorous assault on the gate-keepers of body image and the everyday misogyny that women endure, too often, in silence.

Reviewed on 17 March 2016

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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