EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: JESSICA FOSTEKEW: HENCH, Monkey Barrel
After being called "hench" at the gym, Jessica Fostekew is examining the idea of strength. Physical strength is seen as something quite masculine and unladylike and Hench takes a look at why that is.
Drawing on stories from the birth of her son - she was quite smug about wanting a "lovely" birth with no medical intervention. Fostekew had envisioned either having a strong daughter or a gentle son and what she has is a violent three-year-old boy. There is an excellent section about the expectations for little boys to be raised in a certain way and how early toxic masculinity comes into play.
Hench examines diet culture and draws parallels with societies need for women to be smaller and what happens if instead, they get bigger and stronger. From the voices in magazines and popular culture to the voice of her own mother, Fostekew has some thoughts on why we are so obsessed with making ourselves smaller.
It's a very clever hour of stand-up, tied together nicely on a theme. There are huge laughs to be had throughout and I'd imagine it is widely relatable. Fostekew is an expert storyteller and a joy to watch.
Photo credit: Idil Sukan