Pussy

Pussy is nothing if not provocative. Violent, angry, visceral and containing more energy than a bullet in a readied gun, the show goes out of its way to elicit a reaction from you. Blending a capella and physical theatre, Pussy explores the societal pressures placed on women, specifically focusing on the unreal expectations created in the modern music industry.

Pussy may be a loaded gun, but it certainly lacks any aim.

While such a mix certainly seems like an intriguing proposition, conflicting interests muddle the show’s message. For the most part, the show seems to bill itself as a comedy and indeed, for the first ten minutes this is clearly the case. An early instance contrasting the furious masturbation of one of the actresses with the pointed looks of the rest of the ensemble is a notable highlight. Indeed, throughout the show the quality of the performances remained strong, with all the actors committing fully to the performance, visibly sweating by the end. Yet the shows comedic intentions soon give way to anger – at which point it begins begins to lose its path. While images of women being forcibly turned into dolls as makeup is applied to them are certainly haunting – we never lose the impression that we are being invited to laugh at the moment.

While taking a look at the oppressive implications of media can certainly serve as fruitful ground for comedy – this usually comes from subverting those expectations. Here these expectations aren’t so much subverted as hyperbolised – wayward members of the cast are soon forced into the same routine as everybody else, their movement becoming increasingly mechanical. They are made to run the same motions, and songs, over and over again until they break, void of individuality and agency – controlled by the dark side of a culture that is insidious to every aspect of our lives. The end effect of this is that I just felt sad, when I felt that I was being asked to laugh. As a result, this provocation can at times be more alienating than motivating, at times dramatically undermine the overall message of the show.

While a show with more nuance may have been able to successfully navigate through the complicated waters between comedy and sorrow, the sheer momentum of the show prevented any kind of subtly. Sure to be divisive, Pussy may be a loaded gun, but it certainly lacks any aim.

Reviews by Alexander Gillespie

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Pussy. Five girls, one stage – It's not about cats.