No More Miss America!

I originally held out much hope for this production from How to Deal with Rude and Unruly Women, however being there was like serving a prison sentence. Eerily dispersed amongst the pews, the cast wearing nothing but their underwear made me think this was going to be an in-yer-face piece of theatre. However, the torrents of rain outside were the only hard-hitting events to take place that evening.

In spite of its foundation cleverly using the female body as a battleground for competing ideologies, too much focus on the physicality of it prevented this play from exploring such conflicts more deeply.

The play’s being centred on America's beauty pageant of 1968 attempted to epitomise the overly patriarchal society that resided at the time; an undoubtedly admirable undertaking. However, its attempts at doing so were nothing you wouldn't have seen before. The succession of news reports that were projected on the walls before the all-female cast descended into relentless wailings and obtrusive audience immersion. Though used to live up to the theatre company’s name, the lack of dialogue failed to challenge the oppression the women were under in this piece. What was worthy of praise, however, was the mixture of news reports involved. Some being rather abstract to the message No More Miss America! tried to convey, such reports highlighted how subtle patriarchal oppression can be.

In spite of its foundation cleverly using the female body as a battleground for competing ideologies, too much focus on the physicality of it prevented this play from exploring such conflicts more deeply. Yet, if this production were more embellished, future audiences would definitely leave screaming out for more.

Reviews by Oliver Lugg

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Performances

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The Blurb

A performance by the How to Deal With Rude & Unruly Women collective, loosely based on New York Radical Women’s 1968 action outside the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. With Helena Vortex and Teresa Albor. Caution: nudity and strong language from the start.

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