Marry, Marry, Quite Contrary – Paper Doll Ensemble (USA) 52 min.
When three women form an alliance on a reality TV dating show, lunacy ensues. This show pulls back the masks we wear in public and private to reveal the cracking pressure of maintaining our personas.
Julie, Taylor and Bridget (Grayce Hoffman, Taiwo Sokan and Sara Vanasse Quagliata) feature in” this devised pastiche of ABC’s The Bachelor, the true crime genre, and love obsessed pop-culture horror”.
Opening with Bridget cursing and wailing in her firming Spanx bodywear, Marry, Marry, Quite Contrary goes behind the scenes of all those shows cluttering TV schedules and dazzling with fake smiles.
Drinking, bickering, plotting, gossiping – it all goes on during the taping of “The Chosen” where the prospective lucky ladies wear formal dresses and keep their personalities hidden.
Supposedly friends, these three are nothing more than a nest of vipers ready to rise up and attack. Working through fast-paced comedy and even a stage fight, we never see John, the object of their affections, or find out their motivation of having a pact as “the final three”.
If you have seen the kind of shows this one is taking aim at, you will recognise the references and the kind of energy within the participants. I enjoyed the ride, and can see that Paper Doll have the potential to produce stronger work as they progress.
This is the One – Guest Performer of Asterion Project (Australia) 60 mon.
This is the One is written and performed by James Robertson, artistic director of Plain English Theatre Company.
Terri’s life is shaped by the items they wear, drawing them closer to the femininity they have kept secret from the world. This show explores gender norms in society and how clothes form an avenue to break free from these binaries.
Blindfolded, wearing a simple dress, and framed by clothes held high on hangars and folded on the floor, Robertson chooses different looks and forms by undressing and dressing.
Posing the question of the definition of masculinity and femininity, This is the One is a monologue that is delivered against a distracting sonic backdrop that loses some of the words in early scenes but later settles down.
Identity is explored, and how it can make you disappear or bring you to the attention of others. Through pop culture references and rich characterisations, this play is a love letter to the fabric, the skin, the body, the ‘you’.
“Most people reach a point in their lives where they give up being who they should be, and continue being who they think they are.” What if this doesn’t have to be the case?
What do our closets say about us, and how many of us linger within them all our lives? There’s a moment recounting a man shopping for skirts, without a care in the world, that is warm, wistful, and wonderful.
Robertson knows the ins and outs of all this, about the fabric of society, the stitches that feel wrong until you make them right, about the need to be accepted overriding the reality.
In Terri, a character has been created who is real, not showy, not drag, just a person outside the conventional binary. They have a presence that pulls you in, makes you listen, makes you care.
Ukraine Fringe continues to 3 Sep with a live programme in Kyiv (details here) and an online programme on Scenesaver (details here) where you can view titles for free or with an optional donation. Register for free here.