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Hotter review at Soho Theatre, London – ‘cuts to the heart of the female experience’

Mary Higgins and Ell Potter in Hotter at Soho Theatre, London. Photo: Sophia Burnell
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Ell Potter and Mary Higgins’ heart-warming show takes the form of a fun and fascinating attempt to untangle to intersection of bodies, sexuality and self-image through a genre-defying “verbatim dance party”.

Hotter threads together the recorded responses of a group of women to a series of questions posed to them by the duo – which they then perform with superb comic timing – with their own stories. To this then add music, movement and a touch of mayhem.

What begins lightly, with the answers to the question “Do you prefer to be hot or cold?”, soon spirals through segments that explore the darker side of the female experience. As the revelations become more personal for the pair, who effortlessly switch between school-disco elation and searing introspection, they bare more of their bodies, too.

Potter and Higgins reveal more about their sex lives than would usually be comfortable in a room full of strangers but their mix of silliness and insight never allows awkwardness to linger. It soon becomes apparent that, for all their openness, sex isn’t the real focus of the show. There are water-filled balloons and charming chats with granny, but what the duo is really grappling with here is how women often struggle to relate to their own bodies as more than just objects of external desire – something that’s never more clear than the moment in which they dance around to Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.

From Hotter’s unabashed frankness on sex, periods, boobs, toilet habits, masturbation and eating disorders springs an unlikely well of joy, proving that humour can often be a hotline to the truth.

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A colourful, inventive and fascinating show that cuts to the heart of the female experience