Tag Archives: Miriam Sallon

What Girls Are Made Of

★★★★

Soho Theatre

What Girls Are Made Of

What Girls Are Made Of

Soho Theatre

Reviewed – 12th September 2019

★★★★

 

“the story itself is nostalgic and heart-warming with a great soundtrack to boot”

 

Everyone has a fantasy of winning big; having your absolute pie-in-the-sky, never-in-a-million-years dream come true. But what happens after it does? On discovering the fearsome coolness of Patti Smith, young Cora decides she absolutely needs to sing in a band. So, she finds an ad in the local paper and does just that, and everything just seems to fall in to place. Ten gigs in and they’re already playing for all the biggest record label reps, and in no time they’re signed to Phonogram, on tour with the likes of Radiohead and Blur, trashing hotels and playing to 2,000-strong audiences. But after one bad review in NME, everything turns sour and Cora is left trying to work out what happens next.

Based on the actual events of Cora Bissett’s teenage years and directed by Orla O’Loughlin, What Girls Are Made Of charts the epic highs and crushing lows of quick fame, and the unforgiving nature of the industry, as well as the less romantic heartaches of life in general. The main message seems to be that few people’s lives glide along on an ever-ascending trajectory, and that a successful and full life is not defined by a lack of failure. This message is muddied in the ending’s slightly disappointing emphasis on the importance of being a mother, and passing the lessons down to the next generation, as though the rest of the story were only validated by her daughter’s existence. That being said it’s hard to argue with the plot seeing as it’s based on Bissett’s life – she did in fact want to be a mother, and she did succeed in doing so.

The design (Ana Inés Jabares-Pita) is a classic gig theatre set-up, and Bissett is joined on stage by her fellow band members, Simon Donaldson, Emma Smith and Harry Ward who also aid in her story, playing the parts of concerned parents, coked-up record label heads, shifty managers, and urm… Radiohead. The quality of musicianship is excellent, and the soundtrack takes us back to the rose-tinted memory of a teenager’s 90s – the Pixies, Nirvana, PJ Harvey, and of course Patti Smith.

Bissett is an endearing and engaging story teller and though there might have been a little more grit in a true tale of rock-and-roll, the story itself is nostalgic and heart-warming with a great soundtrack to boot.

 

Reviewed by Miriam Sallon

Photography by Mihaela Bodlovic

 


What Girls Are Made Of

Soho Theatre until 28th September

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Angry Alan | ★★★★ | March 2019
Mouthpiece | ★★★ | April 2019
Tumulus | ★★★★ | April 2019
William Andrews: Willy | ★★★★★ | April 2019
Does My Bomb Look Big In This? | ★★★★ | May 2019
Hotter | ★★★★★ | May 2019
Citysong | ★★★★ | June 2019
The View Upstairs | ★★★ | July 2019
It All | ★★★ | August 2019
The Starship Osiris | ★★★★★ | August 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

It’s a Playception

★★★★

Hope Theatre

Its a Playception

It’s a Playception

Hope Theatre

Reviewed – 8th September 2019

★★★★

 

“A perfect demonstration that you don’t always need high production value if you have a good idea”

 

Sirenna and Elise are putting on a play about two women putting on a play about two women putting on a play. It’s their first venture together, and they really have no idea what they’re doing. They know they’re being ripped off by the venue, they know they don’t know anything about marketing and they know that if they don’t completely sell out, they’re going to lose a lot of money and face. But they’ve decided to go ahead all the same.

The play itself is a continuous story about the lead-up to putting on a play (about the lead-up to putting on a play and so on), but often we’re uncertain whether we’re watching the play or the play within the play, as are Sirenna (Olivia Baker) and Elise (Evangeline Duncan). In a confusing babble trying to work out which they’re talking about, Elise cuts in, “Is this the play? Wait…this is real life. Right?”

And the requirements for the play with the play continuously effect the play itself. After a discussion with the “very attractive but generally unhelpful” technician (Josh Redding), for example, who demands they not use real coffee in the play (“no liquids on stage”) they appear in the next scene holding empty coffee cups, pretending to drink.

Baker and Duncan create a very believable friendship, built on a seemingly genuine love and respect for one another which is expressed through seemingly stupid things, such as excitement over matching coffee orders, or entire conversations about why one another’s outfits are so great. Similarly, bubbling tensions are shown in minor quibbles and sideways glances. The characters seem so whole that I was quite surprised to see the actors didn’t go by the same name.

The play’s concept being set in a theatre, there’s not much required in the way of scenery or props – just a couple of coffee cups and mobile phones and we’re away! A perfect demonstration that you don’t always need high production value if you have a good idea.

It’s a Playception will not have you up all night trying to work out what it all means – there’s no ever-lasting spinning top to make you feel like you’re losing your mind. That being said, the central concept is fun and, though a silly idea in theory, very cleverly and wittily executed.

Reviewed by Miriam Sallon

 


It’s a Playception

Hope Theatre until 9th September

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Alternativity | ★★★★ | December 2018
In Conversation With Graham Norton | ★★★ | January 2019
The Ruffian On The Stair | ★★★★ | January 2019
Getting Over Everest | ★★★ | April 2019
Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story | ★★★★★ | April 2019
Uncle Vanya | ★★★★ | April 2019
True Colours | ★★★★ | May 2019
Cuttings | ★★★½ | June 2019
The Censor | ★★ | June 2019
River In The Sky | ★★★ | August 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews