If you say the word ‘feminism’, it conjures up tons of different ideas – many of which have been thrown about very recently in the media, thanks to a recent rise in interest in the topic. Using that as a springboard for its new season, Camden People’s Theatre is staging their Calm Down, Dear festival of feminism, where Sh!t Theatre headlines with Women’s Hour.
The premise is simple: Brian Logan, artistic director of CPT, has given the founders of Sh!t Theatre (Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit) an hour to talk about women. What follows is an hour of sharp comedy, peppered with pop culture references, flying crumpets, burnt bras, Gertrude Stein and Pam Ayers. But the best thing about this show is the attention it draws to the social injustices that women face everyday.
By using a projection screen displaying images of female celebrities, the girls judge them all – “Doesn’t she look lovely!” – which even featured a nod to Emma Watson’s recent UN speech, although the Daily Mail decided to report on her outfit instead. The girls use recent pop music depicting rape culture to shame the male artists that sing them, mocking their lyrics begging women to ‘talk dirty to them’ and unleashing their seemingly real dirty talk about periods and ingrown hairs in ‘weird’ places, eliciting sniggers of recognition all over the theatre.
The play was not about man-hating, or even ‘girl power’ but raising questions that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Their re-writing of songs, including Sinead O’Connor’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, are witty, their voices lovely, and their references to high-street make up adverts spot-on.
How women are spoken about in the media, the internet, film and some verbatim text are all used in the creation of the show, and at the true heart of it, lies a message that yes, feminism is necessary in a world where the female population of London on average, earn 28% less than their male counterparts. Feminism is needed until all sexes and genders are equal.
Trying to sum up this show in a few words is hard – much like the duo trying to sum up women in 60 minutes. I confessed to being a feminist a long time ago, although I’d be clear to point out that this incredibly up-to-date play is not only incredibly necessary, and a riotous evening at the theatre, but that – as Sh!t Theatre put it – feminism is not just for lesbians and women that wear Doc Martens.
Women’s Hour is playing the Camden People’s Theatre until 11 October. For more information and tickets see the Camden Peoples Theatre.