Set inside what feels like a giant, enveloping uterus is HOTTER, a searingly honest, ferociously funny, and surprisingly poignant show by Ell Potter and Mary Higgins. An amalgamation of verbatim interview recordings, song, dance, and spoken word, this inclusive celebration of life and femininity combines energy and laughs with brave moments of vulnerability. Potter and Higgins’ obvious love for one another creates a strong, collaborative piece that captivates and empowers the audience in equal measure.
In typical Fringe fashion, this show is very difficult to define: Potter and Higgins draw from a multitude of disciplines to represent their relationship, the female experience and, most importantly, what makes people “hot”, from sweaty summer days to cosmic orgasms. HOTTER is loosely based on interview answers on the topic of hotness from a range of women and trans people, which the pair use as a starting point from which they can lip sync, remix and even represent through dance. One particular highlight is the interpretive dance based on interviewees’ descriptions of their first wank, which created a wonderfully weird routine vaguely resembling the Birdy Song.
Although it is based on the opinions of others, at its heart HOTTER is a highly personal and introspective piece of writing, highlighted by the gradual shedding of layers both material and emotional as the show develops. This visual indication of the women’s vulnerability and bravery heightens the honesty of the piece, intensifying high-impact moments like reading out letters they had written to themselves, which moves the audience to tears.
Such visual and emotional development throughout the show gives a sense of journey and development that is very satisfying, and is effective in empowering the audience. The only moment of disjoint in this journey is when Higgins asks Potter why she ended their relationship. This feels forced and uncomfortable, unlike their other moments of vulnerability, because there is a feeling that Potter is not in control of whether she shares this intimate knowledge with the audience or not. However, her brutally honest answer, detailing fear and self-loathing, endears her to the audience and demonstrates exactly what makes HOTTER so memorable.
Between their infallible comedic timing, fearlessly honest writing and unparallelled lip syncing abilities, Potter and Higgins are a force to be reckoned with, and HOTTER showcases this. Their ability to pick out the naturally funny moments of life, draw attention to them, and celebrate them is fantastically entertaining, while their bravery in using autobiographical narrative endears them to the audience and allows for moments of real emotion. Together, the pair construct a brilliant show that guarantees laughs, tears and dancing in the aisles. What’s hotter than that?
HOTTER is on at Underbelly Cowgate – White Belly
At 20:00 until 25th August
Book tickets here
Image: Sophia Burnell