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Smoke Weed Eat Pussy Everyday at Camden People’s Theatre

Smoke Weed Eat Pussy EverydayAs the American singer Ultra Naté sang in her 1997 hit single Free, “You’re free to do what you want to do”. And if (as she absolutely didn’t sing) someone wishes to Smoke Weed Eat Pussy Everyday, then they can do that too.

Forever too high to care,” reads a caption on what I presume is an Instagram image (it could be something from a Snapchat account), a statement that doesn’t quite prove true for Cassie (Chloë Florence) – but it’s not so much the comedowns or the lows. It’s the sheer reality of life on and below the breadline. And anyone who thinks that having nothing has its benefits because there is nothing to worry about would have to be rather stubborn to come out of this show and not at least contemplate reconsidering such a view.

Cassie is a lesbian – a highly relevant point to the show’s narrative, for those wondering why on earth a character’s sexual orientation is being mentioned. She finds solace in partying, which provide her with some form of belonging, and without a place to actually call ‘home’, the later a night out lasts, the better. There’s a lot of exposition in the play – at times nothing at all is left to the audience’s imagination. Other times Florence’s varied skills come to the fore: this being a (largely) autobiographical work, her dancing ability, honed in the clubs and raves of London, oozes passion and confidence.

Cassie expresses a full range of human emotions in a story delivered at a moderate pace – one imagines if the show were called Take Ecstasy Eat Pussy Everyday instead, it would have been significantly more frantic. In one scene almost reminiscent of ‘Gee, Officer Krupke’ in West Side Story, she is passed from place to place to place by various organisations and bodies who all say the same thing – sorry, can’t help you, here’s another number you can try. But, the play is keen to point out, this isn’t the fault of those who are trying their best to help.

There were, at least to me, some fresh perspectives to be devoured, and with them, strong imagery. I was particularly drawn, for instance, to the idea of high rise luxury apartments surrounding Cassie like a prison cell. Rightly, the show offers no easy solutions to the problems presented in the play (because there aren’t any), and sheer frustration with the lack of progress made by the Government is palpable. It’s not so much ‘Tory bashing’ as a statement of facts – and many of those facts are quite harrowing. Florence, who speaks as herself rather than Cassie in the show’s epilogue, lays bare the plight of LGBT+ homeless people, and then unleashes her fiercest anger at ‘you’ (the British electorate), “for letting this happen”.

An engaging and enthusiastic piece of theatre, it’s one of those relatively brief shows that contains more details in one act than some shows cover in two, and it’s also the kind of story that still doesn’t get told often enough in the world of live theatre. It’s also one that those in the corridors of power would do well to hear.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Part Poetry. Part Rave. Part Snapchat Story. Part Political Statement.
CASSIE is now 20. She lives in a Young Person’s Hostel in Hackney, loves to party, smoke weed & f**k women.
This show asks what happens when Raves are the only home you have to go back to. Set amongst the backdrop of London’s Everchanging Party and Rave Culture – from illegal raves to gay clubs.
This is the story of a young underclass lesbian who attempts to find home and identity in this country’s Poverty Graveyard.
“Watch me party on that rainbow to reach that pot of gold like there is no tomorrow. Cos, for me, there isn’t.”

SMOKE WEED Eat Pussy EVERYDAY
Written and Performed by
Chloё Florence.
Supported by Arts Council England, Talia Randall’s Studio Lab & Clean Break Theatre Company.
Partnered with Charities Stonewall Housing & London Friend
A Spoken Word Theatre One-Woman-Show about Raving, Sexuality and Homelessness.
This is Roundhouse Resident Artist, Vault New Writers Award Winner and Roundhouse Poetry Slam Finalist Chloё Florence’s debut show.
https://www.cptheatre.co.uk/

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