The final installment of the It’s a Girl Trilogy – Sticky Door is currently showing at the Vault Festival. Following on from Bicycles and Fish and Sexy Lamp, Katie Arnstein’s Sticky Door is a self-penned one-woman show true to its original form; raw, intelligent, funny, emotional and empowering. As with her previous two productions, Arnstein’s show comes with free sweets for the audience, monologues that amplify her comedic talent and firmly places her in my top ten list of female storytellers, as well as songs performed on the ukulele and vox pops played through audio starting the piece.
The set is minimal; she has created a room on stage, a safe space with big comfortable armchair (think the Lemsip advert), there is a large lamp (formally the sexy lamp prop) to her left and a table with photo, phone and personal effects to her right. In this safe space, Arnstein can say and do anything. She is empowered to tell her story to us. She controls the language and delivery. There is no doubt that Arnstein is in control and she has us, her audience, leaned inwards listening with eagerness to her words.
Arnstein’s story-telling technique is compelling, I could listen to her talk for hours, she has mastered the ability to fill a room with her voice and draw the audience into her world. She comes across as vulnerable, however, this is not a weakness it is instead empowering. If you’re a Ted Talk fan, you’ll most certainly be aware of Brené Brown and her vulnerability is power talk – Brown says that “vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity.” I believe this is a great way to describe Arnstein’s work.
Although the content of her story is sometimes hard to hear, everything she talks about needs to be heard. The struggle as a twenty-something, living, working and having sex in London is not a single unfamiliar occasion, it’s a unifying event that audience members can connect with. Her every day is our every day. The stories and memories she regales are familiar, funny and heartwarming. We laugh with her as she talks about her first experience of a bikini wax, and groan with her when she shares her gin-inspired chat up lines and Tinder encounters.
It seems silly to single Arnstein out as a Feminist, because in 2020 how can anyone not be a believer in gender equality? However, the very fact that this piece exists highlights that more needs to be done to address gender inequality, sexual harassment, sexual assault, guilt and shaming and archaic beliefs that women exist to please men. Katie Arnstein’s work really does need to be captured and shown to every teenager in the UK. It is only by sharing our Sticky Door stories that the world can change. The narrative had me laugh out loud, it also had me shed a tear. This woman is my hero.
Review by Faye Stockley
From the multi-award-winning team that bought you the “exquisite” (The List) Sexy Lamp and Bicycles and Fish…
“The 2014 plan was a simple one, I would “Casanova” myself around our nation’s capital looking for consenting heterosexual adult males. One no-frills lover-man for every month. I was the original calendar girl. Helen Mirren plays me in the film.”
In 2014 Katie was very sexually active. She was also extremely depressed. Join her as she examines whether the two things are connected.
A storytelling show with songs about sex, stigma and cystitis.
Sticky Door is the third part in Katie Arnstein’s It’s a Girl! trilogy.
Catch Katie’s other shows at VAULT 2020 as she presents three shows together for the first time on 16th February. Three. Because that’s how trilogies work.
1 to 16 Feb 2020
Cage – The Vaults, Leake Street
START TIME: 19:30
DURATION: 1hr 00m
AGE GUIDANCE: 12+