Writer/Director: Seón Simpson and Gina Donnelly
Previously a part of Summerhall’s online Fringe in 2021, Seón Simpson and Gina Donnelly’s production makes an in-person appearance – and by Jesus, was this worth the wait. Uncompromising, unapologetic, and unfiltered, Two Fingers Up grabs audiences by the unmentionables and shakes their understanding (or lack) of sex, pleasure, and female puberty until you start to rattle. Challenging the systemic ideology of previous generations’ concepts of how to act, what to shave, who to like, what not to touch, and consent, the best way you can – with a laugh.
From the dreaded school ‘talk’ to self-discovery to first dates and first dick-pics, much of the show covers the milestones of growing up, having your first fiddle, being terrified at what you feel and enjoy, and embracing every one of those ’awkward’ moments before displaying them full frontal and bellowing that there’s absolutely feck all to be embarrassed about.
Overcome any barrier or reservation some audiences may have with an astonishing pace, Shannon Wilkinson, Orla Graham, and Leanne Devlin distort themselves to become comedic bundles of energy. Inhabiting different characters – twisting and whipping around one another with an emboldened sense of companionship, there’s tremendous faith from the writer/director pair in their cast to shake off inhibitions and roll with the script. And honestly, it’s a bugger of a challenge to even blink for fear you’ll miss some comedic gold.
Watching first hand, the speed of movement, delivery, and facial expression results in one of the best comedy pieces at the venue, if not the Fringe. The energetic trio leap and bounce around the stage, using all available space in their explosion of humour. And though laughs sit at the foundations of Two Fingers Up, the meticulous writing means that subtle slicks of insight emerge between the chuckles, never lingering enough to slow momentum but landing with impact and precision to compliment Simpson and Donnelly’s strong work. Wilkinson and Devlin get the more emotional lines, the ones cutting a little deeper and likely speak to more in the audience, Wilkinson in particular a delight to watch the shift from the comedic to serious.
From the female-led company Skelpielimmer, Two Fingers Up is proving the developing narrative that the quality of this year’s Fringe is dominated by exceptionally talented female producers. And by dominated, we mean still an unfortunate minority.
So, do us a favour, will you? Stick Two Fingers Up. Right up to the systemic and obtuse ideologies restricting the freedom, education, and enjoyment for women about their bodies – and the control which men seem incapable of not exhorting over them. There’s a sense of fulfilment in seeing this work come to physical performance, one we urge everyone, especially the boys out there, to drop their plans and discover for themselves…
Runs until August 28 2022, at Summerhall