Reviews Edinburgh Fringe 2019 Published 7 August 2019

Review: Oh Yes Oh No by Louise Orwin

“Sex is an exclamation mark”: Emily Davis writes on Louise Orwin’s startling exploration of female sexuality.

Emily Davis

Louise Orwin performs ‘Oh Yes Oh No’. Set design: Kat Heath. Photo: Joe Twigg

Sex is an exclamation mark. The orgasm, the FUCK YEAH, the spanking, the hurt, the horror.

Sex is a question mark. If only we could be bodies swimming in the dark together. If only it were that easy.

This show gave me lots of ????? and lots of !!!!!

Louise Orwin is styled as a human Barbie doll, wearing a long blond wig, perched on a stool under lighting designer Alex Fernandes’ miniature floodlights, with the same scene replicated in miniature stage right, with actual Barbie dolls. She invites us to play with her.

Louise plays with us, she plays with the text, an audience volunteer plays with Barbie dolls, the audience are made to play by reading lines labelled ‘Audience’ from a projector screen.

She reassures us ‘I am doing it because I want to do it, and you are here because you want to be here… Religion, Politics, a misplaced sense of social justice, do not belong here’

Oh Yes Oh No looks to unpack the question:

! What do women want !

‘I want to be wanted’

‘I want to be fucked’

‘I want to know that this is my choice’

Orwin intersperses distorted, girlish monologues with Barbie-doll sex scenes with audio clips of people talking about sex and survivors talking about rape.

Some of them very candidly talk about having rape fantasies before and after their assault. That’s not something people talk about. And what the hell do we do with that?

? Subjectivity is so tiring?

One of the audio clips describes coming to terms with being raped as ‘watching a film again, this time with the subtitles on’

There’s something in that, isn’t there? The whole show, for me, feels like it’s about how we hold these desires and feelings in our bodies, and they don’t make ANY sense, but we constantly try and control them with words. There’s this whole conflict between base and cerebral. Orwin is well aware of how slippery and tricksy the language of sexual desire and consent is.

The piece does a very accomplished job of wringing out those intersections, digging into something no one will talk about, and making something really bloody gorgeous out of it. It’s such an achievement of razor-sharp observation and articulating the ‘fuck me this is difficult’ conflict that we hold in our bodies.

In many ways, Oh Yes Oh No is quite slow and reflective, and it needs to be. I appreciate how it takes the space to breathe. It feels like stretching after an orgasm, or the slight burn on your skin after it has been slapped.

Oh Yes Oh No is on at Summerhall until 25th August. More info and tickets here

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Emily Davis is a contributor to Exeunt Magazine

Review: Oh Yes Oh No by Louise Orwin Show Info


Written by Conceived, written and performed by Louise Orwin

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