Annabelszki took to the stage to give a thought provoking, challenging and uplifting insight into the role of women and feminism from a lesbian point of view. Using poetry, visual aids, simple props (including a wine bottle, detergent, drinking glasses and shoes), as well as historical women through the ages, the audience were invited to look at how women are represented in the workforce, dating, menstruation, the media and more from a different angle. We as a nation are so used to what we are shown in front of us that we automatically make assumptions, but Annabelszki challenges those assumptions in a relatable way that makes us rethink what we see, or even what we think we see; especially when it comes to the role of women as a whole.
Thought provoking, challenging and uplifting
A strong start to the show with a feminist poem and a shoe buying sketch immediately set the tone in the sense of how women are perceived physically. Whether it was clothing, beauty, shaved/unshaven legs or attitude, what emerged throughout the evening was the perfect mixture of comedic observations, serious moments highlighting the reality of history versus now and poetical insights that made Smashing a unique show that is needed more than ever in these unsettling times. She made everyone watching feel part of the action as it developed by interacting and engaging with us and balanced this out at times by turning the concept of Smashing into what seemed to be a lecture with a performance twist. This especially worked well when it came to the more than relatable topic for us females of menstruation. The highlight came in the form of a 'period tool belt' as she aptly and enthusiastically demonstrated. Not only did it highlight that this part of a woman’s life is taken for granted, but that she was not afraid to strip this down to the bare basics and share her struggles with it, which added a beautiful personal touch to the experience.
The audience may have been small that night and quiet, but all their laughter and responses to the material as it evolved were engaged, positive and extremely supportive. Someone was overheard saying to Annabelszki how powerful the show was and given the fact she took us on an interesting and exciting journey as aforementioned, this reaction reflected the show as it truly was. An artistic fusion that brought an intriguing insight into feminsim. She also handled banter that occurred with class and decorum.
When watching Smashing, those who are of an age to remember the earlier sketches of the Two Ronnies may recognise a certain Mastermind sketch, but with a very clever and intelligent twist that ties everything in the show together neatly. With this in mind, Annabelszki’s creative mind has once again created a piece that needs to be acknowledged for her strong performance skills and original writing with insight and sensitivity.