Bakehouse Theatre – Main Stage, Wed 9 Mar
Thinking about beauty should not be disturbing. This play was. Early on we hear recorded voices saying things like ‘beauty comes from within’, ‘beauty is feeling good about who you are’, before we move through a series of scenes that make it very clear that measuring up to standards of contemporary beauty is a real struggle for young people.
This show attempts to summarise interviews with 500 people about notions of beauty. Four young women and a lone guy convey some of the strongest images I have seen in this year’s Fringe. One scene where girls gang up on a less attractive girl and torment her for her imperfections is almost savage; the female characters then begin muttering the constant remonstrations they hear from the adult world about how to look nice and slowly they morph into robots. Powerful and telling theatre.
The groups’ default position is standing in a line jogging – a jab at the gym and fitness phenomenon designed to make you more physically attractive. If someone knocks your appearance, if you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, then you need to jog more. And more. Get fitter. Chase that beauty.
Another scene has the male character getting women to do what he bids at the click of his fingers, and is a powerful comment on the way young men saturated by Internet porn like to turn girls into the porn stars of their fantasies. Like I said, disturbing.
Projections of cacophonous voices and shrouded scenes play throughout on to a screen behind a curtain suggesting that much goes on in this youth and beauty arena behind the scenes.
This play’s strength is its ability to portray an unfortunate message with great visual imagery, and it’s delivered by a cast with a strong presence and sense of conviction.
The earlier positive comments about beauty coming from within and being comfortable in your own body return to reinforce a healthier message. But in between is a play that serves up biting commentary on the destructive pressure that trying to be beautiful brings to bear on the lives of contemporary youth.
Deserves a larger audience. Really well done!
Do You Want To See Something Beautiful? continues at Bakehouse Theatre – Main Stage from 7.30 pm until Sat 12 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.