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Hearty review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘a scream against trans erasure’

Emma Frankland in Hearty. Photo: Maurizio Martorana Emma Frankland in Hearty. Photo: Maurizio Martorana

Emma Frankland creates a work full of beautiful, dark magic in Hearty, her one-woman celebration of the weird science behind her own hormonal bio-hacking. Its title is a phonetic play on the acronym HRT – hormone replacement therapy– and it is as full of messy, bloody  as an autopsy.

Hearty is the fifth instalment in performer and writer Frankland’s None of Us is Yet a Robot solo shows. Each work represents an aspect of trans experience, incorporating the context of the time it was made.

Hearty reflects back our current juxtaposed climate where trans and queer individuals are subject to terrible violence and disproportionate hate crime whilst simultaneously having a moment in art and theatre. “Trans Fringe may be trending this year,” says Frankland, “but we have always been here – we have been erased”.

Frankland is the punk-rock angel of your dreams and nightmares. Her giant rat-tail drags across the increasingly wet and trip-hazard filled stage. Her wings are tipped with knives and her gaze is full of fire. She switches between a powerful goddess and a cowering child, crushed under the world’s violence.

It is an incredibly strong performance impaired by a cluttered staging. Frankland’s monologue circles round repeatedly and is interrupted with bursts of static white noise. It is a purposefully uncomfortable watch but one that frustrates more than it truly shares.

Performance maker Emma Frankland: ‘We shouldn’t be casting people who are not trans in the very few parts that are’

 

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Verdict
A necessary, punk scream in the dark on violence, hormone therapy and trans erasure
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