FFS! (A Feminist Fable Series)
Reviewed – 6th March 2019
“All three pieces are written with wit, nuance and understanding”
With International Women’s Day just around the corner, the question remains: how do we deal with the problems facing women today? How do we tackle everyday sexism, unspoken fears and societal pressures? Wonderbox have the answer – to discuss them frankly and honestly whilst also finding the funny side. And that’s exactly what every piece in their show Feminist Fable Series does.
The first piece, StilettNO!, tackles workplace double standards. Jac (Carla Garratt) is an office temp whose boss, Jack (Jack Westgate), tells her that female employees are required to wear heels. For some reason, Jac objects. ‘Why?’ Jack wonders. Luckily, the narrator (Danica Corns) is on hand to guide the bewildered Jack through this difficult situation. Corns’ gently acerbic narration is the highlight of this play, which is well-written if a little abrupt in its ending.
The Night is without question the funniest of the three. Jessica (Corns), Gemma (Garratt), and Liz (Alice Merivale) need to get home after a house party. Walk? No way. Night bus? Not after last time. Taxi? Didn’t know you were up for getting kidnapped. As the girls figure out what to do, their conversation moves beyond the problem with men and onto their problems with each other. The three actors have great chemistry; they are a very recognisable group of friends in a sadly relatable situation. Merivale deserves special mention for her fantastic performance as ‘sexless punchbag for Ofsted’ Liz, a primary school teacher who just wants to let go.
Sixth formers Stacey (Corns) and Harri (Garratt) are the focus of Category: Teen. Stacey has a boyfriend, Luke (Westgate), whose obsession with porn means he’s always up for sex. Which is great… except it’s only him that enjoys it. Harri wants a girlfriend, but is too shy to approach her crush. She could try and get sexual fulfilment through lesbian porn. Which would be great… except it seems that it isn’t actually for lesbians. The two friends must navigate these problems together – but how? This is by far the most complex and intriguing piece from FFS! Not only does it show pornography’s effects on young women, it also examines its impact on male behaviour and self-esteem. The sensitive acting of the ensemble is particularly striking. They carefully balance the light and serious moments, leading to a satisfying and heart-warming conclusion.
All three pieces are written with wit, nuance and understanding by Claire Rammelkemp, with Holly Bond as co-writer for The Night. The ensemble bring their words to life brilliantly, making the debates feel real and relevant. As a production it is a little clunky: set changes take quite a long time, and the use of large tables and chairs seems a little impractical. This does pay off for The Night, however, which set in a bathroom full of little details and surprises.
FFS! is the perfect response to female frustration: speak up, share your stories and, most importantly, find the humour in everything. Claire Rammelkemp was right. Feminists are hilarious.
Reviewed by Harriet Corke
Photography by Bethany Blake
FFS! (A Feminist Fable Series)
The Space until 9th March
Last ten shows reviewed at this venue: