Review: Lovely Girls, ZOO Southside, Edinburgh Fringe

First impressions are important to The Hiccup Project. So important in fact, that they go for a second. Lovely Girls runs at full tilt from the get-go, as Cristina MacKerron and Chess Dillon-Reams enter into a world where women can be whoever they want to be, and do whatever they please. Fuelled by comedy that is at once goofy and sexy, the award-winning duo set the scene of their feminist farce, aided by a rousing soundtrack and a fetching assortment of props. 

“More”, they cry. Laden with symbols of intelligence, glamour, and physical and emotional flexibility, they examine how far females have to stretch in order to achieve a status of desirability. “More. More. More. And yet, despite their flip-flopping, courgette-crunching and tea-bag-tote-bag touting, nothing is ever quite enough. To the tune of titters bubbling from the audience, the pair wade though the unreasonable expectations placed upon their sex. It is thrilling.

The stage is vast, but MacKerron and Dillon-Reams make good use of the space. Their movement dialogue crosses a range of styles, working to probe the pitfalls of male aggression and dominance. Together, they cover a multitude of sex-based biases – an entertaining but powerful dance between pleasing their inner critics and the patriarchy. Both are generous with the spotlight. Incredibly, they manage to fill the theatre through solo and team exercises, mapping the spaces between girldom and womanhood.

This platform soon becomes a playground for their deepest desires, in addition to their greatest fears. Particularly, those surrounding the game of soldiers that sees women perpetually tethered to the shadows of men. In this, Lovely Girls has flavours of Elizabeth Gilbert’s epic journey of self-discovery: Eat Pray Love. Eat without restriction. Pray for equality. Love yourself. Fight for your rights. Support your sisters. However, it is during a group toast that the notion of progress becomes most poignant. Above all, The Hiccup Project champions inclusivity and so together, performer and spectator raise small servings of wine to the heavens, speaking as one: “To women being more than lovely.” Cheers – I’ll drink to that.

Lovely Girls is playing ZOO Southside until 17 August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For more information and tickets, see the Edinburgh Fringe website.