'Is this about gender? I'm pretty sure this is about gender'

11 April 2017

he she they provokes all kinds of thoughts and reactions from Adam Hutton. Is it 'high art'? Will it change minds? Does that matter?

Full disclosure to begin: I was not in the mood for this piece. It seemed from the section shown in the Opening Ceremony as though we were going to be watching some “high art”.

I'm not above admitting that I was wrong about this show. I was wrong to be judgemental. I will cry myself to sleep this evening about this prejudice.

The dancing was gorgeous throughout, coupled with the music that expertly built repeated dialogue and music to create beautiful scenes that demanded attention. And this play did what it set out to do. It provoked discussion. I am currently sat at one such discussion in Sanc now, writing a review on my phone because I am a narcissist and I only like my own opinion. Either that or I feel safer typing them out and hiding away. Take your pick of which one is correct.

My overriding thought on this play is a doozy, however. And one that I don't have a solution for... sorry. I don't think that this piece is going to change anyone's minds about gender, and not due to it being a weak piece. More that it will not attract the type of people likely to disagree.  

It may be wrong to assume that an audience thinks entirely like I do (there's that narcissism again) but the one at NSDF is likely primarily to be liberal. And that's great! We all agree that gender equality is fab and that you can be what you want to be so long as you are happy in yourself and not an arsehole.  

The problem I have is that presenting a show like this as “high art” is not going to attract the sort of people who disagree with you. And that is what this show should be doing. It should be challenging people to question their beliefs, hopefully changing them for the better. 

I think an issue I have is that it was nothing I hadn't seen before, I have seen many a play discussing gender issues, some even in the same theatre, and nothing really stuck out to me as a new viewpoint on it. Nothing challenged my thoughts. Which is a shame.

I find it tricky to talk about this piece in a review format. What I got from it could be entirely different from others and with a piece like this that's OK. It’s more what you talk about afterwards than what goes on in the space. Maybe. Or maybe I just missed the point entirely, who knows?

Stray observations  

  • The main guy’s tattoos were nice, #4sexypoints
  • Bowing a bass guitar? #5sexypoints
  • Honestly, the music was fucking great, a little too much at some points; I missed some dialogue because I was enjoying it too much  
  • After all the effort to find her shoe, the fact the girl removed them pretty fucking quickly afterwards was a bit of an anticlimax
  • I have noticed a trend of transvestism in this year’s shows. This is a good trend

To sum up! 

A show about gender issues provokes discussion among like-minded folks, but could it be doing more?

Standout performer: YOUR CAST LIST DOESNT MAKE IT CLEAR WHO YOU ARE I AM SORRY. The two main dancers were sick though.

Sexy points: 9

Explain a play badly with Josh: Two incredibly talented dancers teach us how to put on shoes and take off clothes.

Send your reviews, thoughts and jokes to: noff@nsdf.org.uk


Photo credit: Giulia Delprato