Reviewed – 1st May 2019
“most definitely a comedy, but as is the case with most brilliant comedies, it is rooted in something more serious”
If you absolutely MUST share your most acute weaknesses, your most graphic desires, your most fragile self, all while dancing like nobody’s watching, with ninety-odd people watching, you best make it worth a roaring standing ovation. In what they describe as a “sweaty verbatim dance party” Mary Higgins and Ell Potter (collectively ‘Hotter’) have created a show that is simultaneously vulgar to the extreme and yet overwhelmingly joyous and – somehow – wholesome.
Jessica Edwards directs a frenzied revue of the female and/or feminine experience, as told through a patchwork of verbatim answers from various women and trans people. The subject matter covers sex, sexiness, masturbation, menstruation, love, dancing, vulnerability, and insecurity. Answers are mostly lip-synced by Higgins and Potter who skilfully embody the assorted characters, and as each segment picks up pace, the recorded answers are mixed and remixed to become a surprisingly vibey dance track for some serious dance moves. As the duo gets ‘hotter’, layers of faux fur are steadily removed to reveal sequins and shimmer fabric, which in turn are peeled off to reveal neon spandex and, later, bras and knickers.
The ridiculousness of the show is not lost on the performers. In fact, their ability to laugh at themselves is part of what makes it such a joy to watch. But the thread that brings it all together – the ecstatic and erotic with the heart-felt and heart-breaking – is the sense that a community has been called upon to create it. Whilst there is a strong autobiographical element, it’s really just one story among many being told, as is made clear throughout with Higgins and Potter consistently citing all the women who contributed.
‘Hotter’ is most definitely a comedy, but as is the case with most brilliant comedies, it is rooted in something more serious. Potter and Higgins seem as afraid as anyone to expose themselves, both figuratively and physically, to an audience of total strangers, but they’ve done it anyway, and to great effect.
Reviewed by Miriam Sallon
Photography by Sophia Burnell
Soho Theatre until 15th June
Last ten shows reviewed at this venue: