Lockdown review: Gash Theatre Makes a ThirstTrap

We open with a montage of movie stars and music icons, then cut to a woman lipsynching to a key scene from Scarlet Street. This is about womxn and what femininity and masculinity are. It is about sex and power. It is about body image and how we, and others, see ourselves.

First seen at the Form(at) Festival at the end of the summer, Gash Theatre Makes a ThirstTrap is a fusion of movie, music, captions, images, and movement. Three femme fatales, three punk pop princesses. Gash Theatre are playful and tough, and have a lot to say.

… Makes a ThirstTrap has a lot of content warnings and yes, some aspects on sex and emotional abuse could trigger viewers, but I expected to be challenged and shocked just a bit more. Some scenes work well: a long silent sequence we follow through explicit on-screen captions; a drunken interlude at a party; a drag king exploration.

Maddie Flint, Nathalie Ellis-Einhorn, Clodagh Chapman
Maddie Flint, Nathalie Ellis-Einhorn, Clodagh Chapman

Having said this, I think that although there is a good show within this piece, the whole doesn’t feel a cohesive whole, and the inclusion of a five-minute “interval” within such a short presentation isn’t necessary. By all means solicit tips and donations but Gash could have been more creative about it, given their ideas on display elsewhere in the film.

The two performers who make up Gash Theatre’s “queer feminist collective” (Maddie Flint, Nathalie Ellis-Einhorn) are committed in their mission to provoke through culture and vulgarity, and they create work which questions and empowers the female experience.

With Clodagh Chapman, who co-creates and edits the film, a powerful trio of voices are created who won’t be silenced and who are walking in the footsteps of their trailblazing sisters. The images in this film are often startling, the music discordant, the messages obscured, but there is enough here to see an interesting future for the collective.

Gash Theatre Makes a ThirstTrap streamed on YouTube on 18 November. Tickets were free but donations are welcome. The film screens again on 25 November – book here.