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TRP Critic Review: Rashdash

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“Innovative, Fast Paced and Loud, this is provocative theatre at its very best”

2016 Fringe First Award winning theatre company RashDash returns to Plymouth with another award winning hit show revolving around the hot topics of gender, masculinity and patriarchy.

The “Two Man” part of the title refers to Abbi Greenland and Helen Goalen who accompanied by musician Becky Wilkie combine innovative dance, music and drama with high energy performances to tell a forceful story about man, masculinity and language which is perceptive, exhilarating but also importantly it’s inclusive and full of love.

Whilst waiting for the first scene, I began to consider just how a feminist, female company would make a show about man or more to the point me, entertaining. Would my masculinity be challenged, would I be offended, could I enjoy such a show? My initial concerns were soon blown away when three goddesses entered, dressed in metallic capes and began to sing, without words in perfect unison, before launching at full speed through amplified alien like voices into the history of mankind, male dominance and fear based patriarch.

This was just the start of the sometimes difficult story of two brothers, Dan and John, who are brought together by their dying father, yet in a rather cliched way, they find it impossible to express their true feelings to each other. The use of dance, load raucous punkish songs interspersed with powerful dialogue continue the narrative of two brothers whose true feelings remain trapped by their inability to find the correct words to express themselves. This male inability to communicate is soon lost when Greenland and Goalen shed their male characters identity and their costumes, to dance naked in perfect unison, communicating beautifully, breaking free of the confines of a world defined by manmade language.

Although the music and vocals were performed with incredible power and talent it was the dance scenes which were the highlight of the show, incredibly well choreographed with every movement portraying a message. One clever example, an artist (Greenland) placing her naked model (Goalen) into the shapes of various classical statues, before moving on to the next movements, aggressive, sexualised stances of the modern era. There were other more subtle routines, equally impressive and beautiful to watch.

Two Man show challenges the subjects of gender, language and humankind in today’s modern society in a provocative, raw and thought provoking way. It’s very clever, occasionally clichéd, but the narrative of masculine and feminine behaviour is innovative, load, brash and totally brilliant.

At the start of the show my insecurities made me anxious to whether I would be entertained or offended by a show written and performed by women about mankind and masculinity. Yes I was challenged, yes I was entertained, and yes it was demonstrated beautifully that there are many different ways to be a man and many different ways to be a woman, but most of all I had experienced and enjoyed exceptional talent from all three performers, who just happened to be women.

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