dressed. (4 stars)

Dressed.

Cathartic, moving transformation of trauma into art

At the centre of this shockingly brave and intimate piece of experimental theatre is Lydia, a young woman who was forced to strip at gunpoint when she was 19. Onstage with three of her childhood friends, she details how she overcame her trauma by changing the narrative from the act of being stripped to the act of being dressed. Following her assault, Lydia set up a blog titled 'mademywardrobe', and, over the course of a year, began to create her entire wardrobe from scratch, throwing out all the store-bought clothes she owned.

Experimental, provoking and daring, dressed. combines pained singing, expressionistic dancing, awkward comedy and live sewing to add layers of meaning to Lydia's story. Although these disparate elements can at times endanger the piece into veering off course, the powerful thematic undercurrent, fearless questions and charged performers ensure that it never loses sight of the issues.

As real childhood friends, the four actors onstage have an obvious bond that invites the audience to connect to their pain. Despite this, their unity in the face of trauma means that a story of assault and control becomes one of defiance and empowerment, of readdressing the narrative from pain to hope.

Underbelly Cowgate, until 26 Aug (not 14), 6pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).

dressed.

  • 4 stars

ThisEgg / MadeMyWardrobe / Untapped: Underbelly and New Diorama Theatre Told with a tender intimacy, dressed is a true story told by four women who have been friends since school. After being stripped at gun point, Lydia set out to redress herself with a new healing set of armour. Lydia now only wears clothes she has…

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