Review: Women’s Hour, New Wolsey Studio, Ipswich, Pulse Festival continues until June 4

Women's Hour, Pulse Festival, New Wolsey Theatre 2016

Women's Hour, Pulse Festival, New Wolsey Theatre 2016 - Credit: Archant

Walking into the theatre room we are greeted by two dancing women drinking cans of beer, dressed in white shirts, ties, boxer shorts, Dr Martens and wearing face paint.

“First on Women’s Hour: Men, then us,” one of the performers announces.

Tampon tax, make up adverts, gender-specific children’s toys, women’s representation in sport, pornography, the gender pay gap – Sh!t Theatre presents a hilarious and punchy exploration of some of the biggest barriers standing in the way of women’s equality today.

The two young actors - Becca and Louise – command the stage with energy during the sketch-based cabaret piece that sees crumpets thrown into the audience, a bra being burnt and Kinder Surprise eggs smashed on heads.

A parody to the popular Radio 4 morning show, Women’s Hour uses references from advertising, the press and pop culture to expose the way women are objectified, sexualised, criticized and patronised on a daily basis.

Amid the fast-paced disorder, there are moments where the lights go out and the audience is made to listen to one of the women telling an anecdote about a time in her life where she has faced gender prejudice. It is clear this is a subject that means a great deal to both of them.

And when the topic veers toward horrific, such as women receiving rape threats over the internet for a video they have posted, the pair sing jaunty songs, filled with expletives, to soften the blow.

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Shoes also seem to be an evocative subject for the duo, who dedicate a rendition of Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares to You to the blissful comfort provided by a pair of the Airwair classic boots.

What impressed me most was how well rehearsed the piece is, the women quote passages from news articles, reel off statistics, crack jokes, break into dance routines, perform songs with a guitar and ukulele – all in perfect time and with precision. A must see performance for all the feminists out there.

Gemma Mitchell

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