My preferred search engine informs me that Coccinellidae is the proper (Latin) term for the family of beetles commonly referred to as Ladybirds. The relevance of this to the show is unclear to me, except for the fact the performer ends up dressed as one. When I first saw the title I suspected this would be an avant-garde piece so titled to create some sense of complexity and depth. The reality could not be further from the truth; this was a highly enjoyable, accessible and uplifting celebration of ‘bigness’ that kept me smiling throughout. The solo performer, Amanda Kelleher, is big in stature, heart and comic talent, and conjures up a clown show that encourages women to resist the ‘minimising’ influences of society and ‘have a bloody big life!’

There is a great deal of easy-going and effective audience interaction as she tells stories of her nights out with the girls, and shares advice on how to do sleepovers.  She introduces us to Chantelle her best friend (here represented by a blow-up doll), who engages in a ‘silent protest against the patriarchy’. In one section she dances to a collage of pop tunes, suggesting all the roles women have come to expect of themselves to accomplish; as Mother, Lover, Professional – but this brand of feminism is much more about female camaraderie and sisterhood than a tirade against injustice.

The hour is punctuated by sections of pre-recorded interviews with women about their femininity, which are insightful and thought-provoking and that also have a positive and encouraging tone. They are underscored by gentle music whilst the performer enacts, abstract gestures that evoke a sense of enjoyment of the body.  There are a variety of costume changes and the transformation of wardrobe centre-stage into a booth of female delights, but I won’t ruin the surprise by giving more details. Throughout this material there is a continual stream of rib-tickling humour that ensures the show provides an oasis of heart-warming and life-affirming fun in the midst of the Edinburgh festival month hubbub.

 

 

Matt Rudkin

Matt Rudkin

Matt Rudkin is a theatre maker and teacher who creates work as Inconvenient Spoof. He has a BA in Creative Arts, an MA in Performance Studies, and studied with Philippe Gaulier (London), and The Actors Space (Spain). He was founder and compere of Edinburgh’s infamous Bongo Club Cabaret, concurrently working as maker and puppeteer with The Edinburgh Puppet Company. He has toured internationally as a street theatre performer with The Incredible Bull Circus, and presented more experimental work at The Green Room, CCA, Whitstable Biennale, ICA, Omsk and Shunt Lounge. He is also a Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Visual Art at the University of Brighton.

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