Fringesider #5: the Fringe through a feminist lense
- Rowena McIntosh
- 18 August 2017
Hot Brown Honey / credit: Danika Yakina
Feminist theatre recommendations, performers from The Guilty Feminist podcast and comedy showcases with more than one female
In this edition of Fringesider we celebrate feminism at the Fringe. Yeah, smash that patriarchy! We start off with comedy showcase tips, round-up some feminist theatre, take a look at performers at the Fringe who've featured on the awesome Guilty Feminist podcast and take a literary sidestep over to the book festival. There's also a smattering of recommendations from performers supporting the sisterhood.
Why only focus on women if feminism is about equality? Well, since 1981 only three female solo comedians have won the Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Show so a bit more focus is a welcome thing. Luckily these shows are placing women centre stage.
2 Girls 1 Cup of Comedy
Late night laughs as Samantha Baines hosts a selection of comedians from across the Fringe. There will always be at least two females on the lineup of 2 Girls 1 Cup of Comedy. Think two female comedians is no big deal? It took Mock the Week 162 episodes to have two women on the same show. One Hundred and Sixty Two!
Just the Tonic @ the Mash House, until 27 Aug, 11pm, £5
Funny Women Fest
Start your Fringe day, or enjoy a spot of lunchtime laughter with Funny Women Fest, a feast of comedy, interviews and highlights from the very best of the Fringe.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 28 Aug, noon, £8–£9 (£7–£8)
Mouthpiece explores the inner dialogue of a woman over the course of a day. Choreographed moment, singing, brilliant comic moments and a wide scope of vocal noises are used to interrogate the limitations of language, gender expectations and developed world privilege in this searing piece.
CanadaHub @ King's Hall, until 27 Aug, 3.30pm, £10 (£8)
Hot Brown Honey
Returning to the Fringe Hot Brown Honey mixes circus, dance, physical performance and hip hop to take down the patriarchy one note at a time. 'A rallying call for both feminism and the rights of people of colour, the show straddles the perfect line between devastating social critique and silly fun.'
Assembly Roxy, until 27 Aug (not 14, 21), 9pm, £15–£16 (£14–£15).
It got the full five stars from us. In Wild Bore Zoe Coombs Marr, Ursula Martinez and Adrienne Truscott present an inventive exploration of the purpose of theatre, using quotations from negative reviews. 'Alluding to the problems of a patriarchal system that defines criticism and performance, Marr, Martinez and Truscott replace it with a fluid, satirical and sensual series of episodes.'
Traverse, until 27 Aug (not 14, 21), times vary, £21.50 (£9.50–£16.50)
Dr Carnesky's Incredible Bleeding Woman
An activist cabaret framed by a humorous lecture that draws on aerialism, sword swallowing and body art to demonstrate the meanings of menstruation. In Dr Carnesky's Incredible Bleeding Woman 'female physical strength and endurance is expressed before the symbolic finale presents a bloody and spectacular triumph of the feminine.'
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug (not 9 and 21), 2pm, £8–£10 (£7–£9).
Also a five star show Power Ballad is a deconstruction of gendered linguistic histories that's part performance lecture, part karaoke party. 'Many shows lay claim to gender fluidity, but this is the real deal: othering, teasing, provoking. The tone moves between hysteria and terror, joy and despair.'
Summerhall, until 27 Aug (not 21), 7.30pm, £11–£12 (£9–£10).
Zinnie Harris' revamp of Aeschylus' Oresteia reconfigures the story around one of the text's female characters, drawing attention away from the son compelled to avenge his father's death by killing his mother towards his sister, Electra.
Oresteia: This Restless House, Lyceum, 23–27 Aug, 6pm, £10–£32. Preview 22 Aug, £7.50–£23
Performers from the Guilty Feminist Podcast
Those who enjoy feminism with a funny side might already be a fan of the fantastic podcast The Guilty Feminist, hosted by comedian Deborah Frances-White. While the live Edinburgh Fringe recording of the show has already been and gone (sob) there are plenty of performers who've featured on the podcast with shows at Edinburgh Fringe. If you're unaware / don't believe comedy is an inherently sexist business, listen to episode 54: Nevertheless She Persisted.
Chortle Award winner Pippa presents Joy Provision!, a show less about how love will tear us apart and more about how the little things might keep us together.
Pleasance Courtyard, until Sun 27 Aug, 2.40pm, £10--£13 (£8.50--£12)
Former co-host of The Guilty Feminist and Winner of Best Newcomer in 2015, Hagan presents new show Dead Baby Frog, where she turns her attention to the awful grandfathers in her family. 'This is a compelling tale of resistance and breaking free from the shackles of tyranny'.
Bedlam Theatre, until 28 Aug, 2pm, £10 (£8)
Thom follows up Backstage in Biscuit Land with a take on Samuel Beckett's short play Not I. Thom has Tourettes and this theatrical experience explores neurodiversity and asks who is allowed to perform what.
Pleasance Courtyard, Tue 22–Sat 26 Aug, noon, £10–£13 (£10.50–£12)
Kugblenu argues in KMT that what we need in society is an intellectual exchange of ideas and a thirst to learn more about one another in a way that's neither earnest nor preachy. 'Athena Kugblenu is so smart and amiable that any chaos makes her even more relatable'.
Underbelly Med Quad, until 27 Aug (not 14), 5.50pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10)
O'Donnell's show You've Changed is 'a thought-provoking, tender and witty look at how she transitioned from Drew to Kate and the changes within the trans community over the last 14 years'.
You've Changed, Northern Stage at Summerhall, until 26 Aug (not 23), 8.30 pm, £12 (£10).
Fostekew stars in the BBC One drama Three Girls. She's in Edinburgh to tell a story of entrapment, torture, shame and ice cream in The Silence of the Nans.
Just the Tonic at the Caves, until Sat 26 Aug, 4pm, £5 or Pay What You Want
This Woman Can
Okay it might be called Fringesider but we're taking a literary side step over to Charlotte Square Gardens and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. One of this year's themes is This Woman Can, a playful riff on the incredibly popular Sport England campaign, This Girl Can. It celebrates female roles models and feminist thinkers, our pick of events include:
Freelance journalist and blogger Eddo-Lodge is author of 2016's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race, a seething take-down of commonly held attitudes towards race and racism in the UK and beyond. The book sparked fierce discussion and continues to inform debates about race and its relationship to privilege, class and gender.
Reni Eddo-Lodge, Charlotte Square Gardens, Fri 18 Aug, 4pm, £12 (£10)
If you haven't read Sara Pascoe's Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body, get a copy immediately. Buy a copy for a friend too as this is a book to be shared and discussed. Expanding on the themes of sexuality and body confidence from her stand-up, Animal is a thought-provoking feminist read that tackles complex issues head on, interspersed with frank and hilarious incidents from Pascoe's own life.
Sara Pascoe, Charlotte Square Gardens, Wed 23 Aug, 3.45pm, £12 (£10)
A renowned Shakespearean actor, Harriet Walter took on lead roles in all three of the Donmar Warehouse's all-female Shakespeare trilogy. Walter had already played most of the Bard's heroines and here discusses the particular choices she made in preparing and performing each character.
Harriet Walter, Charlotte Square Gardens, Sun 27 Aug, 3.15pm, £12 (£10)