Review - She Wears The Trousers ((GASP Theatre Company) Work in progress)

Set in the 1970s, "She Wears the Trousers" is a sketch about an unsuccessful weekly feminist group meeting. One year on and the group still only has four members; Helen, the leader of the group, She has a strong head on her shoulders, determined to get feminism heard. Betty, her best friend since primary school, although her head is in the clouds she's the most loyal of friends. Gail, an avid follower of Helen's work, determined to impress her as a #1 feminist. And Cindy, well...we don't really know why Cindy's there. As Helen attempts to get together a protest in order to celebrate the group's 1 year anniversary, the others try to throw her a surprise party following her success. However, things don't quite go to plan and Helen may just end up losing her head.

She Wears The Trousers is GASP Theatre Company’s very first production, and has been in the making for over a year now. Although at present the piece is still a work in progress, it is full of countless laugh-out-loud gags, as well as a couple of touching moments.

All four of the company’s members have an excellent onstage rapport, and each of their characters bring a unique and entertaining element to the story. Sophie Kronenberg is endearing as Betty, the sweet, heavily pregnant mother of the group, who toddles around the stage offering biscuits and hugs to everyone (whether they like it or not!).  As Gail the trainee first aider Alexandra Saunders-Yates provides many of the show’s biggest laughs with her deadpan line delivery and knowing nods and winks. Additionally Georgina Stafford is brilliant as glitter loving, go-go boot wearing Cindy. It would be interesting to see her character take centre stage a bit more, and for the  audience to learn more about her views on feminism and exactly why she attends the society’s weekly meetings, as her character is so entertaining and likable, and definitely affects the dynamic of the society in an interesting way. Lastly, Philippa Holmes gives an engaging performance as Helen, the society’s passionate, strong willed and slightly imposing president, and the straight-woman of the piece. Her attempts to inspire her fellow feminists to take part in a protest provide much of the play’s tension as well as facilitating many of the biggest laughs.

The plot itself is extremely multidimensional, but a tight storyline and excellently timed jokes mean that the play never meanders, and each character’s individual arcs remain clear though-out.  The piece generates most of its biggest laughs from prop based comedy, and a recurring joke involving a couple of party hats and blowers is particularly memorable. The play’s message seems to be that feminism is for anyone and everyone, and there are some excellent plot points which support this by dispelling countless myths about feminist and what makes a true feminist.  However, I feel that a stronger, more definite ending may help to clarify the play’s overall moral or purpose.

All in all, She Wears The Trousers is a hilarious offbeat comedy with snappy dialogue, intelligent yet at times outrageous humour, and a subject matter which remains as relevant today as it was in the 70s! Be sure to catch them at Edinburgh Fringe this summer.