BWW Review: FITTER, Soho Theatre
Following on from their phenomenal debut HOTTER, dynamic duo Mary Higgins and Ell Potter this time return with a show all about men. That's both cis and trans-identifying men, aged all the way from eight to 102. The pair interviewed close to 50 of them, asking the question of what makes them hard. It's a strange provocation, and one that understandably gained an abundance of different responses.
A mixture of cheap drag, music, movement and lip-sync, the piece is both a celebration and condemnation of masculinity in all its forms. The phrase 'men are trash' gets thrown about a lot, and in some instances, that sentence is true. Men are trash. And they at times have the potential to be toxic. But they also possess the capability to be kind and sensitive. FITTER explores all these possibilities.
What follows is a series of vignettes, which are initially charming and humorous, and does resemble a lot of what can be seen in their first show. However, on this occasion, this approach feels somewhat misjudged, and as the piece continues, the form gets a tad tiresome, as the pacing becomes sluggish towards the middle. Despite it being high energy and camp, we need more substance.
The most impactful moments come later in the performance, when the pair's façade is stripped away and they stand before the audience as themselves. They open a box that they say contains their trauma, and each take turns to read letters. They haven't committed these bits of text to memory, as it isn't something that they wish to imprint into their minds.
This is the part of the show that doesn't feel overproduced and forced. Instead - what comes across - is raw emotion that is equally heartbreaking and empowering. During these moments, the performers show absolute strength, resilience and vulnerability.
Photo: HOTTER PROJECT