10 body-positive shows to see at the Fringe
- Lorna Irvine
- 5 August 2018
This article is from 2018.
Shows and performers creating an important dialogue around body acceptance issues
Our bodies have arguably never been so exposed before as now, where social media means there is nowhere to hide from the pernicious glare of cameras, filter effects and selfie sticks. Duck face poses, bleaching, huge lashes, body con dresses and a desire for total airbrushed perfection mean that there is seemingly no one who is not feeling the pressure. The recent controversy – and subsequent backlash – around actor Nicola Coughlan's weight being singled out by a male critic, guarantees that the following body positive shows have never been more timely, and best of all, there is no mansplaining in sight.
There have been many shows during the festival over the last five years which explore mental health issues; less that explore issues of body acceptance, so these may not be a part of a recurring theme, but they are no less valid, in terms of creating a dialogue around disparate body types, and lived experience. Taking up space with regards to representation, identity and health are all worthy themes ripe for exploration – something to ponder as audiences tackle the doubling population on the cobbled streets this August.
With its deliberately provocative title, this show upon first glance might not appear to be for everyone, but, far from being yet another generic misery memoir, it traces the diagnosis of Heather Keller's breast cancer, and her subsequent recovery, with candour and wit. A true story that will prove uplifting,humane and an extremely touching testament to the strength and resilience of womanhood.
Chemo Barbie, Gilded Balloon,Aug 4–27 (not 13) £9.50 (£8.50) £10.50 (£9.50) 1.30 pm Previews Aug 1–3. £6
Queens Of Sheba
Based on a shocking true story of racism, whereby women of colour were refused entry to a nightclub in 2015 for 'being too black', this powerful and passionate show explores the effects of racism and misogyny, and four women's struggle to be accepted in a society determined to keep them down. Misogynoir may be a societal phenomenon that is rarely tackled in theatre productions – but now Queens Of Sheba is ready to address it, head-on.
Queens Of Sheba, Underbelly, 4–26 Aug (not 13) 6.50pm, £10–£11 (£9) Previews Aug 2–3 £7
Yana Alana: Between The Cracks
Feminist, queer and outspoken, Yana Alana is another not terrifically shy Australian performer whose issue-based show straddles music and cabaret. Unabashed and often nude, she presents a humane look at bodies which is not for the prudish.
Yana Alana, Assembly Checkpoint Aug 4–26 (not 8,13,20) 8pm Previews Aug 2–3 £10
My Left / Right Foot The Musical
The always inspiring, filthy-mouthed Birds Of Paradise return, this time in tandem with the National Theatre of Scotland, with a cheeky look at an am-dram theatre company's attempt to find disabled actors to appear to 'be on trend'. Swiping at able-bodied actors taking on disabled roles, it is sure to be pertinent, and impertinent, simultaneously. Featuring additional songs by the wonderful Richard Thomas, uncomfortable home truths and satirical belly laughs will rub up together.
My Left Right Foot The Musical, Assembly Roxy Aug 6.10pm (not 8,14, 21) £12 Previews Aug 1–3 £10