FRINGEFeed Woodside

Bitch On Heat

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Sit down and strap in for the sharp, dynamic, and visceral performance that is Bitch On Heat.

Written and performed by award-winning, alt-cabaret performance artist Leah Shelton, and direct by renowned UK performance art provocateur Ursula Martinez, Bitch On Heat is both critical and absurd in its exploration of “sexual politics in the age of all-you-can-eat”.

Slipping seamlessly between characters in a collection of visually immersive vignettes, Shelton’s performance is committed, enduring and brave.

All dialogue is pre-recorded and presented via lip sync, accompanied by powerful instrumental support (designed by Kenneth Lyons), making Shelton’s physical performance all the more integral, and indeed, a task she carries out exceptionally well.

Expect dark comedy, a plethora of costume changes, and a marathon performance that is worthy of a gold medal.

Although Bitch On Heat highlights some of the sociohistorical narratives that have allowed rampant misogyny to persist within our seemingly “progressive” society, it is unclear what the show is hoping to achieve.

The primary focus on “vintage sexism” makes for an entertaining, visually stunning, and at times provocative performance, however the overarching ideas lacked nuance.

If the intention was to draw connections between the sexism of yesteryear and its impact on us today, then it would have been beneficial to shift the focus somewhat onto the contemporary era and explore further how these ideas are manifesting today.

Bitch on Heat is not the kind sexually political call-to-arms-power-ballad that many performance artists have attempted to generate in recent years.

Instead, it’s an exploration of how far we’ve come, and dishearteningly, how much farther we have to go.

One thing is clear – the sexism women have faced and continue to face is exhausting, and at times, feels like all too much.

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Review by Claudia Mancini on 07 Feb 2019

Claudia Mancini is a passionate advocate for social impact within the arts. She is a producer at the Centre for Stories and co-founder of feminist collective @conversationsperth. In her spare time, she is attempting DIY projects way above her skill level, staying up past her bedtime, and tenderly watering her house plants.