Scary Gorgeous explores the external pressures on female sexual behaviour, the growing seep of pornographic images into the mainstream and the knock on effect this has on sexual expectation. The piece is performed with RashDash’s usual energy and what’s coming to be their trademark blend of live music, physical theatre and story-telling.
In terms of sheer uplift, their last show Another Someone was one of the most appealing shows on last year’s Fringe. Their new piece, the first on which they have worked with another writer, shares the same drive, the same buzz, but what marks it apart is the desire to do something more than just pick its audience up. An attempt has been made to examine why women sometimes make questionably sexual decisions or feel the need to dress and behave in certain ways. Helen and Abbi are friends who play together in a band; the relationship veers from the emotionally supportive to the competitive, and they know how to pick at the other’s weak spots.
Their story is twinned with that of Aidan and Sarah, two nineteen year olds who’ve been together in a relationship for two years and are now thinking about experimenting sexually, trying something new. These two threads are woven together with live music from Abbi and Helen’s band and movement sequences in which they writhe and wrestle, wrap their bodies around one another, tumble and contort on the floor. There are also sequences in which they pout and pose, straddling the sofa, limbs splayed.
While the production shares Another Someone’s verve, it also shares its predecessor’s narrative patchiness. While they successfully demonstrate how the lads’ mag aesthetic has infected people’s ideas about what it means to be feminine and glamorous, their attempts to tie the two threads of the piece together work less well.
There’s still plenty to enjoy even if the piece doesn’t quite satisfy on a dramatic level. This is a company who have created a style of performance they’re clearly very comfortable with and they play to their strengths. There’s a collage quality to the production that’s appealing and there are some very entertaining sequences – particularly a scene set in a night club in which their band-mates participate. The musical numbers are memorable in their own right, and the piece succeeds in making you think about how, as a woman, you present yourself to the world. There’s even just a dash of silliness to stop things getting too intense.