Bread and Roses Theatre
Reviewed – 20th January 2020
“we cry with her, we laugh with her, and, most importantly – we feel with her”
Julie (Debbie Bird) is a woman. 50 (or approaching). Divorcee. Not much of sex life. And she is – buzzing.
Julie did not have much luck with love in her life. Newly out of a loveless (and mostly sexless) marriage, she now strives to find herself in a new life. Introduced by her daughter to a fun Tinder world of “swipe right” and “swipe left”, Julie goes on her little Odyssey in a quest for new sexual adventures to validate her own attractiveness.
There is something amazingly fascinating about this kind of “theatrical nudity”. Theatre is – fundamentally – a lie. For the sake of cathartic experience, we are prone to suspend our disbelief for an hour or two and cry over a hunk in a huge headpiece who is pretending to be a lion. And yet, theatre this intimate, theatre that is capable of resonating with its audience to this extent can be completely enthralling. What is more – although this word may have completely lost its meaning at this point – this theatre is relatable.
When most roles are written for younger women and the best middle-aged female actors can hope for is a noble mother or faithful spouse, Bird’s piece portrays Julie only at the very start of her journey. Julie explores, plays and makes mistakes – she is alive. She learns a lesson and discover something about herself – something that is, admittedly, a tad naïve and quite “hip” and “empowering” – something that resonates, nevertheless. And not only with its target audience of (presumably) other middle-aged women who are “not ready to be put out to pasture yet”; I’d daresay it has a potential to resonate with every audience member.
A family show it is not, though. Sexual references are persistent throughout the entire seventy minutes. Although far from obscene, they are, indeed, quite daring. And usually very, very funny.
Debbie Bird is a remarkable performer and a skilled playwright. Alongside precise direction from Mark Farrelly, Buzzing is brought to life with a detailed and clever script, although the pacing near the end could have been improved. But it is her personality and acting that shines brightest – we cry with her, we laugh with her, and, most importantly – we feel with her.
Reviewed by Dominika Fleszar
Bread and Roses Theatre
Previously reviewed at this venue: