Emulating the WWII female icon Rosie the Riveter, Zuma Puma steps onto the stage wearing blue overalls and red polka dot headband. Something else that immediately catches the eye is her bright red clown nose, suggesting that something has changed. The heroine who once represented the women’s effort in war times has now assumed a new, more irreverent, role.
Zuma immediately breaks the fourth wall, inviting the audience to respond with loud cheers. Some classic clowning sketches ensure that everyone is engaged, and we’re all called upon to shout out marks for her feats. It’s already clear that this will be an hour like no other.
When we think we’ve seen it all, she brings up a new unforeseeable gambit, which inevitably cracks everyone up. There’s physical theatre, puppetry, a tiny bit of mime, some sweet singing and a fully-fledged dramatic monologue, which marks the show’s climax. Well-polished or intentionally messy, her delivery is spot-on – evidence of a versatile and accomplished artist.
Beyond all the laughter, however, scratching the surface of this madcap act, a weighty matter is revealed. A woman whose needs and desires are continuously restrained by an overcritical inner monologue. A harsh censor that keeps slurring deprecations and telling her what to do and what to refrain from.
Like a fairy tale, this should be a wise advisor that keeps her out of trouble but, in this modern feminist version, the role is brought into question. Is Zuma really out of trouble if she always follows the rules? Does she really need to fulfil what others expect from her, even against her own will?
Undertaking a journey towards self-empowerment, she becomes a sort of Alice in Wonderland, meeting some odd characters along the way. Eventually, she comes out the other side as a new person, with freshly acquired confidence. The narrative has changed.
Trigger warning: contains belly laugh, audience participation, motivational references and a rather outspoken vagina.
Written, Performed and Produced By: Zuma Puma
Directed by: Dan Lees
Box Office: +44 (0)131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/don-t-do-it-don-t-do-it-do-it
Booking Until: 10 August 2019