Part of the Mimetic Festival at the grungy Vaults venue underneath Waterloo Station, ‘Marion Deprez is Gorgeous’ is a one woman show revolting against the objectification of women. Don’t roll your eyes. Deprez does it well and with a buoyancy that turns the common idea of a one woman show on its head. Revelling in her own, very real, beauty Deprez gives us an urban clowning fairytale, taking us through the ‘forest of the city’ to an ivory tower, to a bottle that compels it’s female beholder to ‘drink me’ and a stuffed toy frog prince.
From the beginning Deprez sets up a fairly black and white dichotomy between beautiful women, always objectified, and men, never objectified. A looming omission is the experience of women who are not gorgeous. But this is forgiven, because really how would Marian know? One does wonder how this would translate into a more complex discussion, or how the show might evolve. It doesn’t completely deconstruct the conformist idea of beauty, as the billing promises. But as a personal narrative of the annoyances of life as a woman it does its job.
Picking out a few men from her audience Deprez reverses objectification. ‘You can look at me now’ she says to one, while to another ‘No it’s not your turn anymore. Stop looking’. One guy is named ‘Gorgeous’ and he’s asked to take his top off. ‘Oh, he’s not used to being objectified’, thus Marian explains away his understandable refusal.
What Deprez is doing is valuable as a creative take on gender struggles. As a beautiful French woman, and every straight mans dream, she is captivating. Flippant and laissez-faire, she’s a bit like the ‘butterfly’ she encourages her audience to ‘fluff’ towards her. But unlike the butterfly she doesn’t get squashed. She’s assertive and self possessed and handles any heckling with humour that carries the show. She turns the one-woman show from a groan to a celebration.
In this show everything is a straight forward allegory and extremely easy to navigate. It feels spoon fed at times – her stance on gender issues comes across as quite exclusive. But then it’s short and very entertaining. It works because Deprez is indeed gorgeous. It mightn’t if she wasn’t. When you go, grab a seat on the front row because there’s no raised seating so you’ll have to crane if you end up at the back.
Review by Annemarie Hiscott
MARION DEPREZ IS GORGEOUS
What does a woman have to do to get a laugh?
Venue: The Vaults (Lucy’s Room), Leake Street, SE1 7NN
Date: 25th- 29th November
Admission: £8 (£5 Conc.)
Finger in the Pie’s Mimetic Festival is a two week celebration of the very best emerging devised, physical and visual theatre, puppetry and cabaret.
Friday 28th November 2014