Pros: Brought me to tears of laughter.
Cons: The run was too short but, hopefully, the show will return to London after its Edinburgh outing.
What is feminism? With this word acquiring timely relevance, due to the recent scandals emerging across the world, many recent theatre productions have aimed at offering a representation or interpretation of it.
Amongst them is Bits’n’Bobs Theatre, a group of fresh grads from LAMDA whose show What the F*minist?! hits the topic right on the head. Combining live music, hip hop, dance and tons of physical prowess, the company leave moralism and philosophy at the door, bringing the house down with an exhilarating piss-take medley of the most familiar feminist-related arguments.
Although most of the tears I wanted to shed were caused by the comic timing and intelligent observations they made, their candid depiction of many all too familiar scenarios left a bitter after-taste. Why so many women in the auditorium nodded when wolf-whistling and cat-calling were mentioned? Why so many of them laughed hysterically during a song about periods, whereas the men seemed to look around in discomfort?
Women – but also racial and sexual minorities, etc. – have learned to laugh about the casual discrimination they experience, and step back. They’ve learned to let someone else do the talking, when they think their intervention might come across as inappropriate and they’d rather conform to social expectations than risk attracting criticism.
This raucous assortment of vignettes covers it all, with playfulness and bluntness too. The times a friendship was lost to sexual urges. The times a male orgasm signified the end of intercourse between two people, regardless. The recurring questions used as a conversation filler or punchline: why don’t you have a boyfriend, are you lesbian? Why are you such a bitch, are you on your period? Why don’t you have babies, you won’t be young forever! The times a hug from an acquaintance felt like an octopus embrace.
Women expecting their date to pick up the bill are mocked, as well as those who use their v-power to obtain privileges and professional results, and those who stop shaving their armpits as a form of feminist protest.
Fortunately, the young ensemble has a clear idea of what direction should be taken, which is, as they sing in their final number, that feminism is not about female supremacy. In fact, it doesn’t even matter what is actually inside the pants of a feminist to be considered one. Feminism is about equality and the importance of making free choices in your career and personal life. Gender roles should become a thing of the past.
Quick, sharp and inspired, this show has “Edinburgh Fringe” written all over it and I wasn’t surprised when the company announced a crowdfunding campaign to support their Scottish run. Donate, if you can, but, most importantly, don’t miss this for anything in the world!