Plastic

Performed in the Pleasance Undergrand, 30 Bird’s multimedia production is undeniably aesthetically pleasing. However, in attempting to address transsexuality, plastic surgery, religion and Middle Eastern gender politics in just fifty-five minutes of movement and video, it manages to say nothing much at all.

Supposedly inspired by the story of a man who wants to become a woman and looking at Iran’s conservative legal attitude towards transgender issues, Plastic sees four technically talented performers lead the audience to a tea party, a urinal, a collection of blinds and a pickling lesson. That’s about it. The items used to signify gender (high heeled shoes, tea cups, bananas and floral print) are at best obvious, at worst utterly cliché, and the separation of the audience into men and women at the beginning of the show seems absurdly uninspired. No effort is exerted to make any of the performers signify other than their anatomical sex; even when one actress has her breasts bound and it seems we might see some gender dysphoria, when she turns her heavy make up, pencil skirt and stilettos allow for no ambiguity.

The dialogue is divided between tired references to women doing the cooking and unimaginative questions about the effects of a sex change operation. At no point does the performance address the psychological state or attempt to explore the lived experiences of transgendered individuals, and it seems far more time was spent choreographing the meaningless imagery than researching the supposed content. Moreover, while the Undergrand is an interesting space and must instantly appeal to performance art groups, nothing in this production justified its setting so even the choice of venue seems to have lacked basic consideration. From the publicity, it seems Plastic could be a poignant examination of important topics, but due to poor research and little inspiration the actual performance appears entirely vacuous.

Reviews by Natasha Long

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

You're a man, and you want to become a woman? The Islamic Republic of Iran can help. Sex change, botox, pickle and jam; 'Plastic' examines the traffic between the two sexes in the world capital of cosmetic surgery. www.30birdproductions.org

Most Popular See More

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets