Theatre, Bedlam Theatre, Venue 49, 13:30 until the 30th August.
Be Better by Urban Foxes Collective is a physical manifestation of a quarter-life crisis, complete with menstrual blood, glitter and Sainsbury’s prawn sandwiches.
The protagonists Elena and Saskia confront the audience with hyper intense lifestyle mantras such as ‘MeDonna’, ‘Girl Goddess’ and of course ‘Be Better’. The play, far from being inspirational is essentially a critique on the modern obsession with an instragram perfect lifestyle. Fixations with celebrity offspring, the perfect body and selfies are polarised into queasy, frenzied and highly physical theatre.
Aptly preformed in Bedlam Theatre, the play is not for the faint hearted. From the outset the two characters on stage, Saskia and Elena, are removing their retainers. Soon they are involving the audience in their lifestyle guru skit, involving a self-conception ceremony in which ‘I am pregnant with myself!’ is declared. The actors quite literally throw themselves into a strive for perfection, which at times proves to be genuinely funny and witty. The play is an utterly hyper, but intelligent take on the fallout from one woman’s quarter life crisis that holds the audience in disbelief. My one criticism is that this is undoubtedly written by and for a young audience, the nuances of the production will be lost on someone who is not familiar with the Internet and celebrity culture. The play ends with both actors writhing around on the floor, completely manic, one stripped down to underwear covered in oil, glitter and rubbish, the other bleeding and covered in glitter. It is the charisma of Saskia and Elena that carries the play to this absolutely bizarre conclusion in a somehow logical way; thus proving the strength of their narrative.
Be Better is bold, brash and bonkers. Sometimes it is unclear wether the audience should laugh or be repulsed, but it is this unpredictability that keeps the audience hooked. It is an astute critique on celebrity culture of self obsession and the fears of women in their mid 20s. Like Bridget Jones on acid, Be Better is a confrontational yet engaging production that is a comical and entertaining censure on modern society.
Image courtesy of Urban Foxes Collective/Bedlam Fringe