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  • Ceri Taylor

Ceri’s whirlwind reviews – Part 3

Gothenburg Fringe 2022 in review - Your Flaws: The Musical, Something in the Water, Let it Burn

Ceri Taylor was one of our star volunteers at this year’s Fringe, diving straight into helping us after arriving in town for an exchange year from Plymouth. Alongside working hard throughout the Fringe, Ceri made sure to catch a variety of performances during the week and has compiled a series of reviews. Here is the final part of Ceri's reviewing adventure for this festival.

Your Flaws: The Musical by Lee Apsey, Patrick Clopon and Emma Wessleus

Are you one of those people who lay in bed at night trying to fall asleep and then your brain decided to play you a movie of every embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? Let’s sing a song about it!

Patrick, Lee and Emma did just that on stage at 2lång during their run at the Gothenburg Fringe Festival. The virtuoso talents of Patrick on keys and Lee and Emma on vocals create power ballads, Disney openings and sexy serenades right on the spot using their incredible improvisational talents. All they need is some inspiration from the perfect canvas: the audience.

We all have ‘flaws’ about ourselves which we might be too embarrassed to admit but here under the warm glow of the stage lights, these flaws are celebrated and even encouraged. Afraid of commitment? Classic jazz-hands musical number. Perfectionism triggered by crushing anxiety? 2000’s SoundCloud rap demo. Never able to get over the feeling that everybody secretly hates you? This calls for bubblegum pop.

The beauty of this performance is it’s a brand new show every time because it’s created by those who come to the show. If you’d like to partake in the world’s weirdest therapy session or have a drink and laugh along with someone who does, this is the show for you. You might even come up with a one-hit wonder!

Photo: Naomi Ruth Carter

Something in the Water by Scantily Glad Theatre

Why does that person’s crotch have eyes and why are they staring at me

My time at Gothenburg Fringe Festival got off to a splashing start on Thursday 8 September in Atalante theatre with Something in the Water. Canadian transgender artist Grumms (they/them) made their Swedish debut with a queer journey through uncharted waters featuring cute drawings, a sex tape starring Barbie and Ken and a giant homemade squid. And David Attenborough of course.

Scantily Glad Theatre’s Something in the Water is a queer-focused one-person show exploring what it means to live in a gender-obsessed world as someone who doesn’t quite identify with any of the ‘normal’ characters written for us by the societal powers that be. Grumms uses a tiny projection screen and homemade props to tell a hilarious and technically brilliant story where people are rapidly turning into terrifying squid monsters and these transformations can only be prevented by playing with toys corresponding to that of your own genitals.

But what exactly does that mean?

I write this as a cis female using she/her pronouns: I shaved all my hair off four months ago. Should I wear pink, so that everyone can tell I’m a girl? Should I write mushy thoughts in my journal, aspire for a husband seven feet tall? Does any of this make me feminine?

Does it make people uncomfortable to look at me - at anyone - and not be able to tell what genitals they have?

As Grumms directly asks the audience, what if we are all performing to a script that was given to us from birth? Watching TV with Barbie and Ken explained that men wear stiff denim and headbutt their feelings away, women know they don’t have to shave their legs and wear makeup but they do it anyway, and they also provided a space for us to acknowledge that gender is really just a system of rules and adhering to those ambiguous rules is hard.

Then why is it that deviating off-script is something that bumps elbows with ostracism, criticism and angry mobs wielding plastic pitch forks? All this gender discourse is exhausting.

And what if I DO have a clump of orange squid tentacles down there? Suck on that x

Let it Burn by Linda

On a late evening in chilly September, deep into a full day of shows at the Gothenburg Fringe Festival, Linda, Father Augustus and a little Scottish boy named Andrew take to the stage at 2Lång and invite us to ponder an existential question: should we just let it burn?

For those of us brave enough (like me) to sit at the front of one of Linda’s shows, we already know we’re in for an interesting experience. Even a certain reigning monarch wasn’t safe from Linda’s exclusive brand of controversial humour.

Have seen and been aware of Linda’s material in the past (thanks, Fringe Tram!) I arrived at 2lång already a fan and left among an entire audience of others. Every joke landed (even the phallic ones) each singled out audience member the perfect blend of entertained and terrified, not a single F-bomb out of place.

A randomly selected audience member partaking in an intense dance battle was a personal highlight for me but if you want to see that (and gain a six pack from laughing) catch Linda next time she’s in town! Leave your dignity and your coat at the door!

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