Review: Lovely Girls – Bethan Devonald

Show: Lovely Girls
Venue: ZOO Southside
Star rating: ****
Reviewer: Bethan Devonald

Lovely Girls is a performance that examines the contradictions, expectations and self-criticism involved in gender identity. Using a mixture of energetic movement interjected with monologues the ‘girls’ use their own experiences and feelings of self-doubt to navigate the complicated notion of what it means to be a woman and a feminsit. From the moment Chess and Chrisitina burst onto the stage their point is made- they are so much more than ‘lovely girls’. The energy that they bring in the opening sequence fills the whole room, they are here to make a statement and make it loud.

The stand out moment came early on in the show when the ‘girls’ use costumes, movement and speech to construct on stage society’s idea of a perfect woman. The repetition used in this sequence slowly builds and with every added construct the girls appear more absurd and grotesque. Chess and Christinta take their time with this scene, when you think that it is over there is always one more ridiculous and contradicting concept of female identity to be layered on top. The repetitive and ridiculous nature of this sequence creates a visual spectacle on stage depicting not only the unattainability of traditional gender expectations, but the absurdity in attempting to uphold these ideals.

The strength in this performance was definitely in the well executed and captivating to watch movement sequences. Often the sequences were powerful enough to portray the message without the added speech that accompanied it. At times the speech felt a little repetitive and unnecessary as the movement sequences were powerful enough stand alone to deliver the same message in a more subtle way that gives audiences the agency to decide what it means to them.

Overall the show was empowering, exciting and joyous to watch, the performers were captivating and made you want to listen to what they had to say. Throughout the performance the feminsit message was loud and clear: for too long women have allowed gender expectations to rule their own understanding of identity and it is time for change. Although this message may have been repeated one too many times; the Hiccup Project’s honest and comedic performance makes this show one to watch. It is a refreshing and personal take on two women reclaiming power to overcome the reductive label of ‘lovely girls’.

Lovely Girls
ZOO Southside
3-17 August
8.50pm (1 hour)

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