Two Man Show, presented by RashDash, is an experience. A good one, I think, and certainly funny, but baffling and bamboozling and brilliant all at once. There is no predictability in the work of RashDash, which is refreshing, yet as a result can sometimes feel like a million ideas have been vomited out onto the stage and partially moulded into a coherent form. It’s innovative and punchy, and in many ways you reach the end exhausted and invigorated, a weird paradox that is possibly central to RashDash’s shows.
This particular offering explores patriarchy and the crisis in masculinity through various mediums such as dance, movement, music and text. Yet language, we are told, is inherently patriarchal, because it was man that wrote down and controlled language from the very beginning. Thus, the words in which to make an argument are in and of themselves insufficient to describe the female experience. It is compelling, and moving, imagining a time when patriarchy did not exist, the way that it does not exist amongst any other primate species. The way that humans have organised themselves is based on control, and man’s fear of irrelevance in the reproductive system. This patriarchy also has roots in a distinct lack of value placed on caring and nurturing roles, traditionally expected
To explore this, creators and performers Abbi Greenland and Helen Goalen give us two brothers, one of whom is caring for their dying father, whilst the other is running away from relationship problems. Two women playing two men – and convincingly so. It really does work to strip away the idea that femininity is inherent and ‘natural’, in the same way, that masculine characteristics are. It is noisy, urgent, full of rage and fun, and you leave feeling confused and clear about the blurred lines between masculinity and femininity, and the role that culture and society have played in creating them. Expect full frontal nudity – it’s just a body, you begin to think, and beautiful because of what it can do, not because of what it looks like – and some utterly bizarre costumes. Not everyone’s cup of tea perhaps – more like some people’s double G&T – but Two Man Show is totally engaging, utterly thrilling, and pleasingly bonkers. Which I think, in hindsight, is half the point, and a point well made indeed.
Review by Amy Stow
RashDash are off across the UK with their award-winning, genre-defying hit about gender, language and humankind.
Men have all the power.
John and Dan keep hearing people say that men have all the power, but it doesn’t feel like that to them.
Abbi and Helen are making a show about Man and men. They want to talk about masculinity and patriarchy but the words that exist aren’t good enough, so there’s music and dance too. It’s loud and raucous.
Running Time: 75 mins
Contains full nakedness: non-threatening and non-sexual
RASHDASH: TWO MAN SHOW TOUR
Wed 13 Sep – Sat 21 Oct 2017