In the hundreds of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, you know there is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. It couldn’t come any more energy-filled and exciting as Charlotte Josephine in her one-woman show Bitch Boxer, part of the Old Vic New Voices Edinburgh Season.
As women get the chance for the first time to take part in boxing at the Olympics, Chloe Jackson dreams of making it big. She’s not your average girl, focusing her anger into left hooks and training at every moment to be the best female boxer. We watch as Chloe, light on her feet, swings punch after punch into the darkness of Big Belly at the Underbelly. Written and performed by Josephine, it is a phenomenal sixty minute monologue that has you cheering all the way.
Combining a look at femininity in the sporting world and the impact a loved one has on your life, Josephine weaves a mixture of poetic language and joyous storytelling to make Bitch Boxer an engrossing and punchy production. It is seemingly hilarious whilst being serious and reflective upon a female character within a man’s sporting environment. There is, it can be said, a sheer purity to the performance that Josephine delivers, striking an emotive cord and forcing a smile on our faces.
There is a continuous gripe that I have with one-person shows: too often the performer cannot sustain the performance for the audience. So much relies upon one performer, but with Josephine there is no doubting her delivery. Whether she is bumping and grinding to club music or doing an intense workout in the boxing ring, we literally can’t take our eyes off her. Perhaps a testament to her efforts can clearly be seen at the end of Bitch Boxer. After an intense boxing match with another female boxer, Josephine, triumphant, slumps in a chair and delivers her closing lines, but in the coldness of the Underbelly performance space we can see steam coming off her body. I mention this not as a negative reflection upon her natural bodily functions, but when was the last time you saw steam rise from a performer after they’ve finished a performance? The energy, commitment and unflinching resolve of Josephine is a feat within itself.
I can’t urge you enough to see this performance. Whilst the Old Vic New Voices Edinburgh Season has an already impressive line up, Bitch Boxer takes it to a new level. Go, witness, and be amazed.
***** – 5/5 Stars
Bitch Boxer is playing at the Underbelly until 27 August at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For more information and tickets, see the Edinburgh Fringe website.