The Shit – Summerhall 4 stars A naked woman squats astride a platform holding in to a microphone and precious little else in Cristian Ceresoli's solo play, performed in an unflinching, no-holds-barred howl of rage by Silvia Gallerano. Whether live art prop or practical aids to counteract the room’s boomy acoustics isn’t clear, but it certainly helps Gallerano spew out Ceresoli's litany of self-loathing to pin you to your seat. As Gallerano's mouth moves in rapid-fire shapes akin to some blood and lipstick smeared form of origami, nothing is hidden, not the narrator's bulimia, nor her messed-up relationships with her father, nor her chase after fame. Subtitled The Disgust Decalogue Number 1, this is a relentlessly confrontational piece of work that tumbles from Gallerano's gut as if ripping the skin from her very being. By turns shrill, even as she laughs at herself, Gallerano delivers an exhausting but utterly compelling verbal symphony that never flinches from the perceived ugliness of her character's lot. Somewhat perversely, the compelling honesty of what follows is irresistible. Until August 26th. Juana in a Million – Pleasance Dome 3 stars Illegal immigrants in the UK feed a black economy that leaves them vulnerable to exploitation at every level. So it goes with the wide-eyed heroine of Vicky Araico Casas and Nir Paldi's play about a young Mexican woman who makes her way to London, where the streets are most definitely not paved with gold. Juana ends up working in a restaurant, is mercilessly ripped off by people she thought she could trust, and is left vulnerable to abuse or worse. Performed by Araico Casas herself with an unabashed verve, Paldi's production highlights a hidden landscape where money talks, which we're all to prepared to turn a blind eye to in the hotels and restaurants that make a killing on the backs of those on the run. Despite the ill-advised jokiness of the title, this is a thoroughly serious work, which, punctuated by Adam Pleeth's live score, gives a rare insight into one of the less sung ills of broken Britain. Until August 26th. Conversations With Love – Whitespace 3 stars Five young women in dance studio vests throw some very gentle shapes to some mainstream R n B. As each begins to talk in rhyming couplets, an everyday narrative of lover's first flush to its eventual loss is told in a simple out-front manner. Written, directed and choreographed by Ann Akins, who also performs, there's guileless street-smart honesty to Akins' concoction of estuarised spoken-word punctuated by pop video choreography. If there are times during the show's bite-size forty minutes when it feels like an end of term exercise, that's okay in what is essentially a mainstream showcase that taps into love's young dream with an engagingly unpretentious charm. There are times too when Akins and her troupe look not unlike a girl-band in waiting. Which, on this showing, might not be a bad thing for a quintet who show considerable flair and promise. Until Aug 23rd.
The Herald, August 22nd 2012 ends