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What Girls Are Made Of

Traverse Theatre
Five stars

The stage is set up with drums and speakers and painted goth-black before Cora Bissett comes on to share her very personal rites of passage. The scene resembles every student union toilet circuit indie venue a generation ever moshed or spilt beer on the floor of in such august institutions. Bissett knows such venues well from a quarter of a century ago, when, as a teenager from Glenrothes singing with barely formed local indie band Darlingheart, she was catapulted into a world of tour buses, hotel rooms, photo-shoots, dodgy managers and sleazy record company A&R men.

Now a successful actress and theatre-maker, Bissett’s first actual scripted play is a beautiful, heartfelt, funny and moving story of a time and a place, in which she plays herself as she embarks on a wild crash-and-burn coming of age. Both the band and all other characters in Orla O’Loughlin’s production are played by Susan Bear, Simon Donaldson and a particularly hilarious Grant O’Rourke. Some names may have been changed to protect the guilty in this co-production between the Traverse and Raw Material in association with Regular Music, but this is a true story to cherish.

For all the fun of hearing live recreations of songs by long lost John Peel favourites, Sultans of Ping FC, and wickedly funny impressions of future stadium stars Radiohead and Blur, this is only partly about music. In a show that’s really about daughters, dads and mums, some of its most moving moments come from Bissett sharing private exchanges with her father, or else talking about her own little girl. Out of this bursts a kick-ass riot of self-constructed emancipation that joins the umbilical dots with every independent woman who ever stood on a stage to create something as defiantly inspirational as Bissett has in a life-changing litany of pure joy.

The Herald, August 8th 2018

ends




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