Credible Likeable Superstar Rolemodel

Bryony Kimmings tackles the important subject of the sexualisation and commodification of childhood and the pressures that 7-12 year olds feel in the modern world. What makes Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model such a visceral, sensitive and touching performance is that Bryony takes to the stage with her 9 year old niece Taylor Houchen, presenting a perfectly articulated point with the potential victim of the topic directly on stage.

To tackle the subject matter, Bryony and Taylor create the character of Catherine Bennett. She looks at the positive elements of childhood and acts like a role model to youngsters. Before we are introduced to Catherine Bennett, we learn more about 9 year old Taylor and her interests. At times Bryony's responses turn into surreal and visually compelling fantasy sequences, where we see the pair dressed up as Victorian boys, pop superstars and princesses.

The overriding theme very much comes to the fore when Taylor innocently dances to a Katy Perry song at the front of the stage. Behind her Bryony is not so innocently dancing, showing how sexualisation in music can be interpreted in different ways. Fantasy violence is also depicted but in a comedic and humorous way, enforcing the special bond that the two performers have.

The character of Catherine Bennett is a product of Taylor and Bryony's hopes and aspirations; she bursts onto stage like a breath of fresh air in an already breathless piece of theatre. We learn how the character of Catherine Bennett has addressed parliament, appeared on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour and was personally invited to Yoko Ono's Meltdown Festival. Importantly, we also learn that the character tours around primary schools. This highlights the themes developed on stage, presented by the clearly talented duo. Taylor never appears out of her comfort zone, despite her age and Bryony is clearly an artist with an important point to express.

Within Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model, Bryony Kimmings has developed a seriously engaging piece of theatre that underlines the gravity of themes and bestows them on the audience with vigour and emotion. This is a truly heart-filled theatre performance that clealry cares so much about its subject matter.

Reviews by Steven Fraser

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The Blurb

In an audacious protest against flagrant global attempts to sexualise and commodify childhood for profit, award-winning Kimmings and her niece Taylor, nine, resolved to make fictional pop star Catherine Bennett famous. This is their show.