Fundamental Theater Project’s
Josiah tries to pull the two elements together all too conveniently
It's a small stage at the New Town Theatre on which to perform and the set is sparsely arranged with only a chair as a set piece. It is to the credit of Lauren Downie's performance that she manages to make the different scenarios come alive in such a small space. Whether the scene shifts back to her home, to the pub, or onto the street, you are instantly in the moment. The depiction of the town and its various inhabitants is also well-drawn. It makes it easy for the audience to get a sense of place from the dialogue and characterisation alone.
Dickless is written by the award-winning Aisha Josiah, and it is a naturalistic and unvarnished account of the types of characters that you would seek to avoid if they lived in your town. It's a play in two parts. In the first half, we get Saff's point of view as she tries to help her friend get revenge after her reputation is torn apart by a sexual experience that has now become something of an internet rumour. Saff is trying to lay low, having been caught out with someone else's boyfriend and the wronged girl is gunning for revenge. The boyfriend in question is Oli, and we get to see his perspective when the play shifts to the second act. Downie is convincing as both the male and female characters and she has to shift quite adroitly as the dialogue between the two quickens.
The title of the show is, in effect, the driver of it, but it could be said that Josiah tries to pull the two elements together all too conveniently. As a result, I'm not too sure that I buy into the grand narrative about gender identity. But as a tale about revenge and the depiction of the impetuousness of youth, this works really well.