Laura Murphy explores consent, femininity and queerness in this daring solo show
BY JENNIFER KENNEDY
I am a bit of a Fringe Veteran – having enjoyed the month long celebration of arts and culture for over 30 years.
One thing that saddens me is the decline in people taking a punt on the unfamiliar. Something new. Something untraditional. Taking a chance on something random is part of the fun of the Fringe and while it may result in an hour of mind numbing boredom in a sweaty basement, it can also lead to some hidden gems.
Contra was my “wild card” this year. Performance artist Laura Murphy created this feminist solo show in part as a contribution to the #MeToo movement. Clothed only in attitude, she swaggered into the venue – a scruffy lecture hall – ready to work through themes such as consent, femininity and queerness.
Grace and strength were delivered through her fearless aerial rope routines that kept the audience enthralled. Poignancy came from the telling of some candid gender violence stories and the haunting background music. Provocation came from some of the candid unapologetic dialogue.
I enjoyed the acrobatics and the stories, but was less keen on the dialogue. Maybe I was missing something deep and meaningful in the references to such things as dildos, having a poo and anal sex. After all, Murphy has said “Circus has been afraid of mess – and I want to show mess”. But for me, it seemed a bit gratuitous and irrelevant to the context of the rest of the show.
Defying genre it was definitely original, if a little surreal. Not quite a gem, but I was still glad I went.
Do yourself (and the Fringe) a favour and choose one or two events that aren’t safe bets – I promise it will be worth it.
For tickets, visit tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/contra.
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