Review: The Female Role Model Project – Esme Leitch

Show: The Female Role Model Project

Venue: Bedlam Theatre 

Star rating: ***

Reviewer: Esme Leitch

The Female Role Model Project promised an exploration of the neurological impact of our role models and even though the feminism might not have been new, the scientific methods questionable and the flow slightly clunky, the performers’ clear theatrical talent and charisma somehow carried it through. 

Transforma Theatre Inc opened the show with incredible enthusiasm and fierce honesty as the performers took their turn to discuss their role models. The next hour and half was an eclectic mix of audience participation, sketches, reflective monologues, story sharing, impressions, physical theatre and light humour interspersed with use of EEG headsets and live brainwave analysis from a neuroscientist. Through this, the cast of four women covered a huge range of hard-hitting topics such a white privilege, body image, sexual assault, sexuality, gender, cultural identity and parenting with minimal time for  reflection before the performance changed into another clearly segmented section of the show.

While the intentions of The Female Role Model Project are clearly from a very  feminist place and delivered by an  inspirational group of performers, I couldn’t help but feel that sometimes the messages were confused somewhere in the busyness. The performance ended abruptly, leaving me concerned by the lack of closure or takeaway message after the amount of deeply personal sharing and frank discussions on some triggering subjects. I thought about what the young girl sitting near me might have taken from the piece but due to the smile on her face and occasional giggles throughout, I came to the conclusion she was probably inspired by the confidence, intelligence and empowerment of the four diverse and brave women she had just watched perform.

As a piece of theatre, The Female Role Model Project is potentially one of the most conceptually interesting and out there ideas of this year’s Fringe. The delivery of the piece isn’t perfect and I would recommend to anyone going to allow time to reflect on it afterwards but if you’ve got the headspace, it is definitely worth a watch. One thing’s for sure, after this Fringe, I’ll be interested to see what Transforma Theatre do next.

The Female Role Model Project

Bedlam Theatre

8-25 August (not 13, 20)

12:00 (1 hour)


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