Contra (4 stars)

This article is from 2019


Laura Murphy scales new heights of female positivity

Biting mischievously into an apple, Laura Murphy, naked and robust, eyes the audience as Eve. As a swaggering misogynistic male comedian, she lip synchs to an uncomfortable routine. As herself, she spits out sharp testimonials which speak to gendered violence.

These are but some of the layers to Murphy's performance, an uncompromising look at women and sexuality, and all the component parts of anatomy, lived experience, and consent.

Using a rope, her wiles and her extraordinary unadorned body, or packaging herself in cellophane (fresh meat to be consumed), she is fearless, with a steady voice which only occasionally cracks in rage, sorrow and indignance.

She's every woman who shouted back, fought or fled, and the direction by Ursula Martinez is wise and confrontational, but always with a wry twinkle in the eye. Contra is all the mess that is pushed down, only to spring back up, and that is precisely what makes the show so thrilling.

Summerhall, until 25 Aug, 9.10 pm, £12 (£10).


  • 4 stars

Written and Performed by Laura Murphy, Directed by Ursula Martinez Drawing from circus, stand-up and live art, Contra is a solo-cabaret of contradictions. Fierce, witty and uncompromising, this highly physical show interrogates personal, social and historical occupations of the female body and explores, literally, where…