Lisa-Marie Hoctor and Samantha Edwards enter the stage in fabulous oversized chicken costumes and do a dance routine to Scissor Sisters track ‘Filthy Gorgeous’. I’m already hooked.
What I wasn’t expecting from the absolutely brilliant opening silliness was gut-punch after gut-punch of unadulterated truth; after a few of them you realise why we needed to be served sunshine yellow glitter costumes and set complete with songs, humour and Barbra Streisand renditions.
BINGE serves up some of the bravest theatre I’ve ever seen. Hoctor and Edwards paint a picture of what it’s really like for two young women trying to do what they love and navigate the modern world of consumerism whilst struggling to balance that with their desire to be their authentic selves.
This bold show covers a rollercoaster of topics, the psychology of marketing, binge eating disorder, public figures as brands, working in the arts scene, cycles of addiction, domestic abuse, strength, motherhood; and most poignantly perhaps, it’s about friendship and ‘showing up for yourself’. The whole show is delivered through the pair’s journey together like a modern-day epistolary epic.
Despite the hard-hitting themes, never once does BINGE feel too heavy, the pace doesn’t halt for a second. Your heart races and your head spins and it creates a perfect snapshot of how it can feel being a women in the modern age. It was just raw and real. There was nothing in Binge that couldn’t have come straight from the mouths of most women I know. The relatability had women across the audience gasping, laughing out loud and even a few in tears.
An honest portrayal of what it can often be like for working class women in the arts BINGE is the feminist theatre we need in 2019 and everyone in the industry should be going along and taking notes. Briefly touching on directors abusing positions of power as well as the language used to police women’s bodies, BINGE is some the most convincing evidence on how safe spaces for women in the arts can only create great art, via showcasing just some of the extensive damage the industry can do – addiction, insecurities and an unstable home life to name but a few.
Part of Push Festival 2019 by HOME, Manchester, BINGE made me sad that Mighty Heart Theatre won’t continue in its current form, but once you see the show you’ll know that’s the right thing. Catch it for just two more nights 18th - 19th January at 7.15pm. https://homemcr.org/production/binge/
Reviewer: Jo Flynn
Reviewed: 17th January 2019
North West End Rating: ★★★★★