• Amy Toledano

Bitch On Heat presented by Quiet Riot

Image courtesy of Sarah Walker.

What is it? Bitch On Heat is a lively feminist feast for the senses.

What is it all about?

Bitch On Heat is described as ‘absurdist lip-sync meets high camp performance art’ and I’m not sure I could do any better than that. It was a bizarre retelling of the Pandora’s Box tale with vignettes of lip-synced material of a woman's place in a man’s world. 

How did it make me feel?

Bitch On Heat is a strong contender for most epic opening of the year. A huge phallic and silky greek sculpture sits centre stage and is slowly revealed (underscored by swelling orchestral music) to be Leah Shelton dressed up as a blow-up sex doll. It continues as it starts: bold, visually punchy and playful. This show feels like a very American version of European theatre; bizarre and political with all the subtlety of an actor dressed up as a giant penis masturbating herself (a cameo that felt expected). There are some hugely relatable moments on being a woman, but in the end the message feels a little empty. Maybe we are spoiled for choice but there is nothing radical about a conventionally attractive, thin, able bodied white woman sexualising herself on stage. 

There were some uncomfortable male ‘whoops’ at various points as Shelton performed sex acts, that seem to contradict the message of the show. 

You can’t control an audience, but I wonder who Bitch On Heat was written for? For such bold feminist theatre, it lacked any sort of representation.

Anything else?

This is a playful and easy watch, a perfect late night show, it just didn’t fulfill any promises of saying anything about what it means to be a woman.

Serafina x

Bitch On Heat is playing at Soho Theatre until the 14th December 2019.

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