Caitlin Ince is a capable performer. She’s engaging, very watchable, and has a facility with voices. Worrying about the societal pressures on women younger than her to look certain ways, to conform in certain ways, she sets about interviewing a number of teenage girls about their lives and anxieties, attempting to gauge how different it is for girls growing up now.
She then takes the material from these interviews and performs them verbatim. She does this well, becoming a succession of very different teenagers, capturing their speech patterns. She also sets some of the interview material to song – the music supplied by Matthew White.
Clearly inspired to some degree by the work of Alecky Blythe, these songs contain occasional moments of poignancy and charm. What Ince repeatedly discovers is that there are no neat answers – all of the girls have worries about their appearances, though some have more confidence than others. In the end Ince is unable to draw any conclusions, and that in a sense becomes her conclusion: it’s complicated.
This is a thoughtful show, but structurally it’s a little scattered and baggy. There are so many artists – Louise Orwin, Sh!t Theatre – currently exploring similar ground. Ince’s show feels in need of a stronger shape, a guiding hand; at the moment it feels muddled and underdeveloped, the seed of an interesting idea in need of feeding.
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