Please note: This review has been condemned by Miro Magazine’s Editor and has an important editorial response attached to the piece. This review remains on Miro’s site as an example of ignorant, inaccurate journalism rather than a deliberate attempt to incite or abuse. 

 

Isla van Tricht’s Tits ‘n’ Teeth is an interesting lesson in female self-worth. But is it told too much through a misogynistic male gaze. Daniel Perks reviews:

Isla van Tricht is at the centre of character Eve’s one-woman, first-person, present tense performance. And it’s observational. From noticing the topless woman on her lunch break, to remembering her first fumbling sexual experience, there’s a directness in which van Tricht relays Eve’s tale to her audience. She narrates in an organic, naturalistic manner, as if catching up with a friend over coffee.

But Tits ‘n’ Teeth, despite being a prescient story that once again highlights the inability of a man to spot warning signs or admit indiscretions, lacks versatility. And such inflexibility pervades through Eve’s observations around toxic feminism as much as it does through her own sense of self.

The popular posh girls who bullied her at school were at their superficial, evolutionary peak at 17. Eve takes glee from the schadenfreude of stalking them on Facebook, noting their inevitable decline into adulthood. Yet she still stubbornly bases her own self-worth against the achievements of others, making light of such bullying behaviour by masquerading it as a joke, or a flippant remark. The audience can see past that – it cuts into van Tricht’s narrative deeper than Eve cares to admit.

Rosa Crompton’s direction does little to chop and change the show – its one-dimensional nature makes for a pleasant, but forgettable, watch. That is, until Eve describes an encounter with two male youths on the tube who continue to conform to the misogynist stereotype by taking hidden pictures of the ‘fit girl they spot. Here van Tricht highlights the anxiety of a young woman to speak up for fear that she herself will be victimised.

Because men still hold the power cards. They can still belittle and grind down any semblance of a female’s self-worth. Sticks and stones they may not have, but their words are festering wounds upon the soul. In describing this rare moment of power, van Tricht strikes a chord in the audience, a reminder of the instances where the individual feels too timid, or too weak, to stand up for their beliefs.

In her recollections, both of strangers she encounters on the tube or blasts from the past who didn’t understood the meaning of no, van Tricht empowers anyone caged by their own insecurity. She constantly questions herself – will I feel better? – and in doing so relates to those feelings of being flawed, being imperfect, being worthless. Being made up of 90% cracks allows the positivity to drain away.

With a despondent look into space, van Tricht summarises her inner voice who insists on reminding her how incapable, how powerless, she is. Many millennials have that devil on our shoulders. Hers is called Karen. And Karen pipes up at inopportune moments with some acerbic self-deprecation.

By the end of Tits ‘n’ Teeth, Karen has nothing more to say. She hasn’t vanished but is left mute, at least for a little while. It’s a small but significant victory that ends van Tricht’s performance on an uplifting note. Her conclusion celebrates the moments in which the voice of self-worth carries over the din. Now the rest of the narrative needs to follow suit.

 

 

★★★☆☆

Tits ‘n’ Teeth runs at Underbelly Bristo Square as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 until 27 August 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.