Strong and vulnerable and honest and silly, Hotter explores the more intimate side of womanhood with wit and wisdom.
Mary Higgins and Ell Potter take to the stage to share with the audience their experience of inhabiting their own bodies. Joyful and somehow very present, Higgins and Potter use a physical and occasionally clownish style to open the door to a far more candid and vulnerable discussion than would have been palatable served straight up.
The show explores a series of issues related to femininity and womanhood. Sex and sexuality, body image and adolescence, ageing and the menopause - it’s all there. These issues have of course all been wrestled with before, but Higgins and Potter are able to keep things fresh and poignant by inter-splicing their own experiences with those of others. Samples of interviews with women and trans people ages 11 to 97 were blended together to form musical pieces and sonic backdrops for the troupe to dance and engage with.
The performance really shone at it’s most personal moments. The interview with grandmother for example was just delightful. Similarly, the couple of unscripted comments were perhaps the most touching as they revealed a truly deep friendship on which the whole project clearly relies.
Hotter has no narrative in the traditional sense - it’s akin to a stand-up routine, but with two people and not always trying to be funny. On reflection, a real success of the show was that it flowed so well from one scene to the next. I’ve seen plenty of shows that stitched together a series of scenes one after the other by putting the lights down slightly abruptly. Hotter eschews this and in doing so keeps the mood and energy high throughout the hour-long performance.
Not everything worked perfectly. Some of the samples went on perhaps a bit too long, and some of the dramatics techniques (like the ‘Dear Anne’ scene) felt a touch forced. Also, I felt that many of the issues could relate to men as well, where they are a little less well explored. I was delighted, then, to hear that the duo are planning a new project, Fitter, which will be exploring that very perspective.All that said, my wife and I really enjoyed the show and very much got something from it. We laughed, we reflected, we had a good time. We even had a little dance on the stage at the end - what more could you want