4/5 Stars

★★★★ Review of Two Man Show: A True Exploration of what is to be a Woman Living in a Patriarchal World.

Two Man Show Publicity Image Photo Credit: Richard Davenport 2016 richard@rwdavenport.co.uk

Two Man Show is the newest addition to the Rashdash family and it’s easy to see links to their previous shows (We Want You To Watch, Ugly Sisters) both in terms of its bold form and its rebellious content, but it’s by far their best creation. Using song, dance and humour it’s a true exploration of what is to be a woman living in a patriarchal world.

Starting off with a punked-up lecture about ancient civilisations, Abbi Greenland and Helen Goalen tell us how patriarchy sprung from male anxieties about death and sex. Their self-aware style of delivery sets up the tone for the rest of the piece- whether they’re exploring male relationships or the representation of women in art, it’s all done with witty intelligence.

The lecture runs fluidly into song with the music provided by the superb Becky Wilkie. Song then merges with dance and we see Abbi and Helen use movement as a language to express the different ways that men and women communicate. The pair avoid any traditional sense of structure, but they do keep returning to the story of two brothers, Dan and John, who struggle to communicate following the death of their father.

In some sense, their choice of two typically ‘laddish’ characters and the situation they place them in seems clichéd, but when you add into the mix how they present their story- Abbi and Helen are in a state of nakedness for the majority of the show- we are suddenly forced to shift our ways of seeing. Perhaps these women can’t play men, even when they strip off those outwardly feminine things such as clothes. But then maybe that’s because they’re trying to show the gulf between female experience and the predominantly male language that is used express it.

For all the intellectual thought woven into this show, there is a warmth and humour behind it all; the young audience in Soho Theatre certainly found plenty to amuse, amaze and confuse them. Two Man Show is truly unique and therefore a must-see, especially if you have an interest in boundary-breaking theatre.

Two Man Show plays at Soho Theatre until October 1st

Categories: 4/5 Stars, review

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