REVIEW: A GIRL AND A GUN (Pleasance Theatre) ★★★★

girlandgun-fieldmcglynn“All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun” – Jean-Luc Godard; and all you need to attend this show is an open mind and nerves of steel. Louise Orwin, a performance artist who uses theatre to portray messages relevant to modern society, follows the huge success of ‘Prettyugly’ (a show exploring how body shaming is perpetuated amongst young people in Western society) by communicating the masochistic and violent way women are and have been portrayed in the media.

Taking an actor who knows nothing of the show and has never seen a script, the multi media performance pushes him and the audience to a place where we feel anything could happen. Although it is stated at the beginning of the performance that he will be taking his lines and stage directions from an autocue, it is made clear that he does not have to do anything that he doesn’t feel comfortable doing. For one hour ‘Him’ and ‘Her’ experience the many facets of love, hate and tread the despairingly thin line of passion and sex between the two. I must admit that I truly don’t know how to write about this play, all I can express is that this is my own experience and my personal opinion. I believe that every individual who attends this production will have vastly varying experience.

The piece was reminiscent of a Quentin Tarantino movie. If ’Natural Born Killers’ had a pub fight with ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ this would be the result. The use of a performer who has to simply follow the auto cue truly invokes a feeling of togetherness with the audience resulting in some very touching and tender moments as well as some extremely awkward ones, both of which are all too relatable.

Now down the nitty gritty; I hated this production. I have never left a show so infuriated in all my life, nor have I ever desperately been praying for a performance to end so I could just escape. At only one hour long, the show felt like a lifetime, I got spit on my shoes and the sound was uncomfortably loud. However, I have also never been so exhilarated. I walked away from the space and have not stopped thinking about it since. I found myself considering how I would respond to the things the man on the stage was being asked to do; thinking about how utterly ridiculous it is that a seemingly strong femme fatale is so often overly sexualised for the pleasure of a male audience (Harley Quinn in ’Suicide Squad’ being a prime example). But most of all I found myself truly understanding that Jean-Luc Godard’s words are scarily intact even in this day and age.

A truly masochistic and violent work of art that brings to the surface everything we as a society seem to work so hard to repress, this play truly lit a flame in my brain. Uncomfortable yet exciting, safe yet daring, far removed yet scarily relevant; I can’t decide if Louise Orwin is a lunatic or a genius, but to quote Olive Penderghast (‘Easy A’): “Don’t they sort of go hand in hand?”.

Reviewed by Jimmy Richards
Photo: Field McGlynn