City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Boxed In, Pleasance Courtyard, Review


By Katie Mitchell - Posted on 10 August 2015

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Show details
Company: 
Portmanteau
Running time: 
60mins
Production: 
Melissa Booth (Director)
Performers: 
Lily Beck (Performer), Rose Wardle (Performer)

It must be difficult to understand what being a different gender, to your own, would be like. This was something said in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe performance, Boxed In, but not fully explored. Portmanteau theatre company only glimpses into the stereotypes of men and women through 90s memorabilia – an interesting concept, but not well utilized.

The story follows twins of each sex who re-live their childhood and explain how they have been categorised or “boxed in” from a young age due to their gender. This is a verbatim piece drawing on real-life interviews from male and female, young and old people’s experience of the problems they have faced due to their sex.

Director Melissa Booth has drawn on influences like the affective Nike add campaign #LikeAGirl which looks at tackling female gender stereotypes as well as following the campaign HeForShe, for which Emma Watson has recently become an ambassador, and which has encouraged the new surge in tackling the problems faced with feminism.

This is a tricky topic and it is difficult to avoid performances that are cliched or predictable. Gender issues still need to be explored today, as both men and women face oppression in different ways and this has become ever more relevant due to the HeForShe campaign. However, Portmanteau did not explore this topic in an alternative way and therefore did not add anything new to the continuing discussion.

This may have been due to the decision to explore gender differences with two women only. Lily Beck who plays a female gives a good performance however the content of the show distracts from what otherwise would have been affective and genuine. Rose Wardle portrays male and often draws on the stereotypical “butch” male attributes which fails to give a realistic performance. This may have been the underlying reason the show was not totally affective, as the performance was one-sided and only from a female perspective. This show does have potential, however, and reminds us that these issues are still relevant and need addressing. Had there been a male performer, the show may have been able to explore more issues attached to gender stereotypes and give an overall better representation of the issues we all still face today.

Runs til 31 August (not 20, 21). 2.15pm.