Director: Alexander Devriendt
Reviewer: Jo Beggs
Like the Sirens of Greek mythology, singing their seductive songs and luring sailors onto the rocks, these six women from Belgian company Ontroerend Goed are not to be messed with. As the lights gently rise to reveal them, each elegantly poised at a music stand in brightly coloured ball gowns, you might be expecting a little light opera or humorous poetry. Instead they screech and grunt, wail and scream – creating a carcophony of inhuman, disturbing sounds. For that’s what Sirens is about to do – throw out your expectations, mention the unmentionable, and remind us all where Feminism has got to at the start of the twenty-first century.
Sirens is a powerful piece of performance art, a string of text and sound based episodes that explore everyday sexism and ‘acceptable’ misogyny while noting just how far most of the western world has moved on in terms of equality. A relentless list of increasingly sexist jokes elicit nervous giggles then intakes of breath from the audience. A woman describes the feelings she has when walking home alone with the intimacy of a shared secret. Disturbing, sexual dreams are recalled, masturbation is simulated, the price of face cream is compared, female celebrities are derided – and it’s all done with a rhythmical, sharply delivered wit.
Sirens was part of the Summerhall season in the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe, created by the company based on their own experiences of sexism and exploring what Feminism meant to them – a group of young, enlightened European woman. It’s great to see Ontroerend Goed giving this another outing in the UK and mainland Europe. It’s a compelling piece of theatre and, sadly, it’s probably not going to lose its relevance any time soon.
Runs until 3 October 2015