Sister

Two sisters reveal themselves in a physical, biographical piece directly examining their relationship, sexuality, experiences and choices. Rosanna and Amy take the audience on their path from childhood to adulthood, unravelling and sharing aspects of their lives, questioning the very motives that have shaped their decisions.

It takes courage to stand up onstage, but to stand up and expose yourself in body as well as in thought was gutsy and compelling.

The Marlborough Theatre was cleverly transformed into an intimate space for both audience and actors; with subtle lighting touches, I was completely drawn into what felt like a strip club, ushered to my seat by one of the performers who, without hesitation, offered me a lap dance. I passed, and it wasn’t long until she found someone else who was willing. The audience quickly settled in with a ripple of anticipation, the show started with a pole dance accompanied by erotic music. The opening lap dance exposed Amy and Rosanna, who removed all their clothing as if it were the norm. Since this couldn’t have been a more shocking start, I was intrigued to know how it would develop.

Sister was completely personal, immediately seeking to break all barriers between the audience, from childhood dress-up stories right through to first time sexual experiences, Rosanna and Amy treat the audience like a best friend - revealing information that most people would keep hidden away. Although the sisters spent most of their time nude, it’s not for shock value - it is encouraged to view their nudity as a form of liberation; that we should be comfortable with our bodies and come to view each as an organic, functioning machine. Although Amy works in the sex industry, she encourages the audience to listen to her story in pursuing this career. The word ‘choice’ is emphasised throughout; choosing the sex industry was personal for both Amy and Rosanna, and while many people may condemn this choice, they leave it in the audience’s hands to either agree with them or not. Colouring the Marlborough Theatre as a strip club became a hard-hitting metaphor, sending out the important message that sex industry workers are human, the same as everyone else. Physicality and music offer up interesting symbolism, simple props such as shoes, which were used for multiple purposes in order to convey aspects of childhood and the act of growing into adulthood.

At times I felt the show could have been slicker with a more linear structure, it was a bit jumbled at times and some transitions looked messy, under-rehearsed and confusing. Conversations between the two performers looked out of place in relation to a conversation that preceded it and I also wanted them to reveal more in terms of their history; this may have enhanced their childhood videos in moments of transition. The sisters have a great connection; you can really feel their love and how comfortable they are with one another, anyone with a sibling would feel touched by this relationship. Their frank discussions about sex, particularly in the final moments, were refreshing and engaging. It takes courage to stand up onstage, but to stand up and expose yourself in body as well as in thought was gutsy and compelling. 

Reviews by Lucy Skinner

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Amy and Rosana are sisters. Amy has worked in the sex industry. Rosana is a lesbian with a shaved head and hairy armpits. They are both feminists. 'Sister' sees them revealing everything in an attempt to understand their own and each others' sexual identities, and how the world they grew up in shaped them into the women they are today.