Edinburgh Fringe Review: Wild Bore, Traverse Theatre

After a while you start hallucinating and think you can see emotions flickering across the three naked bottoms ranked across the stage.
 
Adrienne Truscott, Ursula Martinez and Zoe Coombs Marr spend an enormous proportion of their theatre collaboration with their arses in the air. The words are all plundered from reviews - particularly bad reviews, of their previous shows. It’s funny and it doesn’t stop being funny - but mostly because it takes you back to your five-year-old self who thought a bare bottom was the funniest thing in the world.
 
Behind the one joke of the show, ie that critics are talking out of their arses, is a serious and rather boring discussion about theatre. Truscott, Martinez and Coombs Marr all consider themselves feminist theatre makers and get frustrated by the way people who write about their shows use condescending language.
 
It also makes them mad that people assume things are happening on stage by accident, rather than design. There is a long and over-emphasised point that everything is happening for a reason, as the words of the critics describe events that are just about to take place onstage.
 
Ironically this underlines the weakness of the show as comedy. Everything is happening for a reason, nothing is spontaneous and the audience is reminded at every moment that nothing happening on stage is real.
 
Nonetheless Truscott, Martinez and Coombs Marr are all brilliant performers who are having an absolute riot telling people who have tried to squash them in the past where they can stick their opinions. It is mind-bendingly clever to have created a performance that appears to describe itself at the same time it happens, with words stolen from the mouths of their oppressors. And it may be puerile but it just never stops being funny to see a talking bottom.
 
Wild Bore is stuffed full of brilliant theatrical tricks, which draw attention to the fact they are theatrical tricks. There is full fronted nakedness and exuberance as these three amazing women celebrate the power they have earned to seize back the narrative.
 
If their struggle with the critics seems like a first world problem Truscott, Martinez and Coombs Marr have thought of that as well, with a final twist that adds an extra, unexpected political perspective.
 
Have they succeeded in opening a debate about the way people write about the arts?  No, I don’t think so.  In any case the number of paid journalists writing about the arts is shrinking by the day. Truscott, Martinez and Coombs Marr are not punching up. They are lambasting a breed which is on the edge of extinction.
 
Will the world be a better place when no one is paid to write about the arts?  No. I don’t think so. But I may be talking out of my arse.

Wild Bore is at Traverse Theatre until August 27. Tickets here.

****

 

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