I Have a Mouth and I Will Scream review at Vaults, London – ‘funny, fierce, furious’
It feels so, so wrong to pass comment on I Have a Mouth and I Will Scream, because if there’s one thing that Abi Zakarian’s sprawling, six-person “play-performance-art-protest-thing” makes abundantly obvious, it’s that women have to put up with a critical male gaze in literally every aspect of contemporary society. Including theatre.
That’s just one headline from this rampant, ragged, but hugely enjoyable hour of scattergun satire and full-blooded fury. Zakarian and director Rafaella Marcus have put together a series of skits with the aim of addressing every single feminist issue, once and for all. It’s an anguished cry of rage, literally at times. The younger, funnier, franker sister of Alice Birch’s Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.
And it is funny. Whether it’s police show parodies featuring a cast of sexual stereotypes, stand-up rants about how sitcoms sell us a “female empowerment” pre-defined by masculinity, or re-read harassment apologies with the subtext exquisitely added on, the satire is sharp and hilarious throughout. That’s probably the riotous cast’s finest achievement – proving that smashing up the patriarchy can be hilarious.
But I’m not going to say any of that, because it feels wrong, like manspreading into this superb piece’s space. I’m not going to say that I Have a Mouth and I Will Scream is one of the funniest and fiercest shows of the festival. I’m not going to say that it’s the most important show of the festival so far, either. I’m just going to shut up and let it speak for itself.
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