Hold It Down, What Makes A Physique Terrifying + A Splash of Milk – There Ought To Be Clowns

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A brand new set of Camden Fringe Evaluations: Hold It Down and What Makes A Physique Terrifying on the Hope Theatre and A Splash of Milk on the Hen and Chickens

I attempt to reassure myself that the additional kilo is a trapped fart I haven’t managed to half with but, or doubtlessly even the semen I swallowed final evening

There’s at all times one thing fascinating to me a couple of play that’s described as semi-biographical as you’re left questioning that are the ‘true’ bits, is that this particular person actually as humorous as they’re presenting themselves onstage? Whether it is midway there, then Emma Oldfield looks as if she’d be a brilliantly filthy and hilarious pal. However the actual topic at hand right here is the consuming dysfunction that dominates the lifetime of central character Daisy, and its portrayal speaks of hard-lived fact.

Hold It Down is a slice of Daisy’s life as she tries to steadiness a Metropolis job and a totally engaged circle of associates with managing the consuming dysfunction that threatens to dominate the whole lot. She begins off by saying she used to have one however that she’s “regular weight” now, declaring clearly that it’s one thing she lives with relatively than one thing that may be cured, whilst she dances across the NHS remedy plans with which she’s given.

Oldfield proves a extremely charming performer, thrillingly direct in her supply and that is what you want when the topic is as visceral as this. For the descriptions of the various, many coping mechanisms she’s developed are eye-opening to say the least. And as she riffs on the best way tradition shapes and dictates her (and our) relationship with meals, we see how tough it should be to try to break these patterns. You think there’s greater than a little bit of Oldfield’s soul bared right here and it makes for a present which is each extremely affecting and instructive.

There’s one thing equally daring in bringing a devised present to a fringe pageant, which is what The Not-God Advanced have carried out with What Makes A Physique Terrifying?. Mixing motion, puppetry, folks songs, audio clips, pseudo-verbatim passages, folks dancing, sound design and extra in addition to, a richly evocative however extremely summary collage is constructed up over the area of an hour. And within the method of a lot devised theatre, it proves to be equal components stunning and baffling.

They promise “a queer exploration of two strikingly related folks tales” about legendary and menacing sea-people – the Slavic Rusalke (embodied right here by Billie Grace) and the Celtic Selkie (Zoë Glen) – and likewise contrasts their use of worry with the best way worry is generated towards queer our bodies. With out the present’s literature to tell us thus, you is perhaps hard-pressed to establish that as Bethan Barke as director and dramaturg emphasises atmospheric immersion over narrative readability.

And so one’s enjoyment of the present will rely on how keen one is to take the deep dive down with the seafolk. Repeated motifs beguile as much as a sure level however a lot repetition, notably when encased in gnomic haziness, can start to put on because it precludes the collated segments from gaining extra collective weight. That mentioned, there are moments that shine by way of – the textures of Rebeka Dio’s sound design, the haunting melodies of ‘Dongó’ Balázs Szokolay’s music, the chilling realisation of (male) violence being enacted and celebrated on (feminine) queer our bodies. If it didn’t totally float my boat, I nonetheless completely admire the experimentation and ambition on show right here.

Circumstances dictated that Pink Milk Theatre’s A Splash of Milk was offered as a script-in-hand work-in-progress. However even with that in thoughts, there’s a way of actual potential in Sami Sumaria’s monologue, not least in the way it expands the proliferation of LGBT+ narratives to incorporate queer individuals of color. Sumaria performs Sunny, going by way of one thing of a quarter-life-crisis as they’re pressured to maneuver again into their suburban childhood bed room.

The present then cycles by way of one thing of the expertise of courting whereas being an individual of color. These are eye-wincingly acute, stinging with a way of actual authenticity in the best way they current the differing ranges of racism that bleed by way of society, from shockingly overt merciless video games to insidiously unconscious passing remarks. Sumaria conveys a strong evocation of how gruelling that may be, when all Sunny desires is a hunky tall man to rail him.

There’s additionally biographical snippets that take us out of the homosexual courting world, to offer a wider context – the complexities of their Indian/Pakistani heritage, making an attempt to get by way of US border management on a faculty journey, nonetheless relying in your mum to iron your shirts… These fluctuate the topic successfully however general, the tone of the present does really feel a little bit overwhelming – writing and efficiency might afford to permit a little bit extra levity or lightness to completely have interaction its viewers relatively than simply chatting with it. For this can be a message that deserves to be heard.   

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