Lucy Orwin’s production, Oh Yes Oh No takes everything taboo and faces it head on. Initially through humour and then through stark realities of life beyond the acceptance of taboos.
This is far from comfortable, the turning of the tables initially presented means the audience is off-pace, tripped up, looking up from the floor wondering how we got here.
On arriving in the theatre, Louise Orwin presents herself as a human Barbie doll, sitting longside a miniature stage with seating and Barbie dolls.
Initially the audience is a participant. A consenting participant. Lured into humour before realising, we’re being played with.
Using a text presentation to create the dialogue between the performer and audience. Initially reassured, Orwin begins to put the doubts in the minds of the observer- ‘subjectivity is so tiring’.
Whilst the presentation is one which initially seems of consent, with the performance interspersed with audio clips of people talking about sex, it soon becomes audio of people talking about surviving rape. How culpable is a person who fantasised about rough sex, about rape when they are raped? Should you have a sexual appetite as a rape victim? Are your fantasises your own, or have they been created within a society which absorbs porn and makes it a perceived norm?
The production opens up a chasm of questions. None of which can be answered within the theatre space. All of which are there for society to own.
Louise Orwin demonstrates her awareness of the need for credible research, for the necessity of this conversation.
It is unquestionably uneasy. The turn of action creating a deep unease for many of the audience participants. And this is the challenge, communicating to the right audience. This is an audience drawn in of an evening at the Edinburgh Fringe. This is an audience drawn into ‘a show about asking for what you want’. And pretty much like any night out that didn’t turn out how you expected, the shell-shock was palpable.
There is no doubting the need for this piece. For me, there is a need for a slightly gentler unwrapping- for me I wanted to hear each voice, that they were overlaid made me feel I wasn’t giving each woman their time- that they share so bravely- that the research is so thorough- I wanted each voice to resonate.
And whilst I know, this is not about what I want. This is about the challenging conversation. The conversation needs to make a difference. To not fall into the ‘too difficult box’. To be understood.
Oh Yes Oh No is at the Summerhall as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. You can see the production at 16.50 until Sunday 25th August (excl 19th).
Disclosure: This review is part of media accreditation for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe through the Network of Independent Critics. All views and opinions contained are my own.