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BWW Review: THE WILD FLESH, Tristan Bates Theatre

BWW Review: THE WILD FLESH, Tristan Bates Theatre

BWW Review: THE WILD FLESH, Tristan Bates Theatre
Wildly Theatre Company voices stories that represent different sides of a female. Here they examine beauty while exploring our Social Media obsessed culture and the damaging influence it can hold over people.

Lyra is a Youtuber who offers beauty tips, including pricking the parts of your body you don't like until they bleed! Experiencing a torrent of online abuse by those who have suffered after following her advice leads to Lyra taking a break for the sake of her mental wellbeing.

Rather than retreating away from her fixation with beauty, Lyra established the Wild Flesh Group. Encouraging women to 'join the awakening' soon draws in loyal and obsessive followers.

Lives are lost in the quest for aesthetic perfection and, pardon the pun; young women ultimately die in vain. It's an astute commentary on how superficial society has become and also how dangerous a platform social media can be.

We open with a series of Youtube clips of Lyra addressing her followers. The large projector screen dominates an otherwise bleak set, emphasising the plays focus on image and effectively establishing the world we are in.

Dressed in the same colours and with matching necklaces, four women enter in song, seemingly worshipping Lyra's on screen image. The choreography combined with Rebecca Hoodless' music evokes a tribal like environment and we quickly come to realise that these women are part of a cult. They even address Lyra as Queen, which could be laughable were it not for the convincing performances on display.

Hayley May Muirhead is captivating as Lyra, her eyes and the flicker of her face connoting the mania that lurks within her character. She is well supported by Caitlin Goman, Jordan Noel and Sommy Echezona, with each of the actors showcasing an array of admirable talents. Izzy Pilkington stands out as the reporter, a character who is arguably given the most in terms of story arc.

The use of music and effective Lighting and Sound, designed by Ally Brett, ensures a foreboding atmosphere is sustained throughout. This is a pacy production with slick scene changes. At only an hour, the play says what it needs to without labouring the point too much.

The Wild Flesh was devised by the cast and most of their creative decisions pay off. The actors bounce off one another well, their vocal harmonising beautiful and their movements always in perfect sync.

Some of the dialogue is slightly jarring and some moments are more dramatically successful than others. Certain aspects could have perhaps been pushed into even darker territory. That said, this is an interesting and engaging take on a contentious issue.

The Wild Flesh at Tristan Bates Theatre until 18 January

Photo credit: Liza Heinrichs

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From This Author Jonathan Marshall