Right across the world, regardless of culture or nationality, women are told how to behave, how to look and what to eat, and it’s this universality that drives this unusual piece. Same Same Collective are an international devising company spawned from Goldsmiths University, dedicated to exploring issues and making work that is accessible across cultural divides.
As you enter The Cavern, a long, dark and grimy tunnel in The Vaults, the pristine white stage in the centre seems to glow. In its centre is a white table, illuminated from above with a heavenly light and covered in mountains of ripe fresh fruit. The cast of four young women, ethnically diverse but united in their classic femininity, appear smiling through lipstick in identical red summer dresses. They ritualistically dance daintily around the table, occasionally plucking the smallest grape or berry from the pile of delights. This loops repetitively, but gradually as they dance their gazes eye up the table, and slowly but surely the veneer of respectability begins to crack as they gorge on more and more food.
As the scene gradually descends into chaos, Drop Dead Gorgeous becomes a playful and joyous cross-cultural exploration of desire, refinement and indulgence. The cast give energized and likeable performances, revelling in their descent (or transcendence) from grace. But with that, the slow-burning style that the piece employs to unravel its story might take just a little too long to get going. It may have been a deliberate ploy, but as the initial routine repeated the audience were starting to eye each other up wondering whether this was it. The choreography was a little rough around the edges and could be more polished.
In all, whilst far from perfect, Drop Dead Gorgeous is an imaginative and enjoyable new piece that feels personal and original and is bound to stick in people’s memories.
Reviewer: Tom Titherington
Reviewed: 15th February 2020
North West End UK Rating: ★★★