REVIEW: Model Behaviour (Pleasance Theatre) ★★★★

Model Behaviour comes to Pleasance Theatre following sold out runs at Edinburgh Fringe 2018 and a London preview at the Arcola.

This one woman show gives an insight into the darker corners of the glamorous world of fashion, told through the eyes of a young model making her way in the industry. The all female production is written and performed by Issy Knowles and directed and produced by Rachael Head. The character is fictional but her story is based on Knowles’s personal experiences; she was signed to one of the top modelling agencies at the age of 15 and quit when she was just 20 years old.

Knowles pulls back the sheen and reveals the reality of Fashion Week and castings and shines a light on the people pulling the strings and using and abusing their influence, both male and female. She has written a dark piece with moments of comedy. This slim woman stands before the audience and tells us she is deemed ‘chunky’ by her agent and is at risk of not getting any work. We follow her through conversations with her fellow models (friends and foes), her agent, castings and photo shoots and fashion parties with tiny canapes and plenty of drink and drugs. Knowles has a talent for switching between characters and uses her body well through the fake model poses and awkward dates.

This is an engaging hour of theatre. Knowles is easy to watch and well directed by Head. Sadly in the post #MeToo world these revelations are less shocking than they ought to be but it’s still important to shine a light on them and consider what needs to happen for it all to change.

Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans


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