At the 2012 Fringe, Karin Danger was one of the creators of ‘World War Wonderful’, which came on like an Andrews Sisters pastiche and went out like ‘Starship Troopers’. This year, the Australian performer presents a solo satire exploring the discontents of the beauty ideal, from schoolyard peer pressure and DIY make-up tutorials to toyboy expectations and finding one’s own sweet spot of looking good comfortably. As a feminist discourse, it’s familiar but no less current or important for that, and it’s realised through impressive original songs, storytelling and comic vignettes expressing with warmth the numerous everyday experiences at the root of the issue. Danger’s material is tightly written, her voice strong and her style amiably conversational; stand-out bits include a number about the delicate calibration required to look just like everyone else and a gumshoe noir story with a resolutely a sartorial sensibility. The show isn’t directed with much dynamism – the room’s central aisle, for instance, begs to be used in a deconstructed catwalk sequence that feels cramped on stage – but overall ‘Hotbox’ is an engagingly witty and accomplished take on a depressingly perennial subject.
And if you like the sound of this, try:
‘Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model’, Bryony Kimmings’s fascinating exploration of what pop culture pushes on tween girls, realised through a collaboration with her nine-year-old niece.
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