Two women play two women playing men. It sounds complicated, but it isn’t really. RashDash return to the Soho Theatre to interrogate masculinity and gender in their award-winning show that defies conventional structure.
Sometimes words are not enough to tell the right story, especially when men are the ones who chose them; someone long ago decided we would be called “mankind”. In order to get over the language hurdle, the performers incorporate music as a tool to evoke emotion.
There’s so much flesh on show, and rightly so. Though Abbi Greenland and Helen Goalen AKA RashDash bare all, it never once feels inappropriate. It is in fact the use of nudity that adds to the production’s appeal – the audience feels gripped by its rawness.
Their bodies come together and then pull away. They connect, and weave limb by limb intimately to create multiple flowing movement sequences. It’s intense, and sexual, but it also feels animalistic and primal. It’s a mating call of sorts, a warrior’s chant. The choreography is somewhat Amazonian, with brutally aggressive delivery.
There’s something so satisfying about the use of heavy sound in a small space. A drum bangs, a symbol clashes, and an electric guitar roars around the room. The trio – with musician Becky Wilkie – adds to this their vocals, which are just as dominating. They harmonise well, and their ethereal voices are a mixture of soothing and ominous.
This is a history lesson you want to be a part of. Discussing patriarchal hierarchy in a gender-split room could have resulted in a frosty vibe. But the show isn’t about male bashing, nor is it just about womanhood. It’s about strength and conviction.
It’s absurd, and surreal, and messes with a lot of theatrical styles. But above all else, it’s a spectacle. The visuals are superb; whether it’s the costumes, the gold lights, or the mosaic statues that the performers sculpt themselves into, it’s gorgeous to watch.
The show is intelligent and has a passion that burns bright. It’s tender, whilst remaining tough. In a society dominated by reports of female harassment, a piece like this feels incredibly important.
Two Man Show at Soho Theatre until 14 October
Photo Credit: RashDash Theatre
From This Author Alistair Wilkinson