Fringe review: Well Behaved Women

Well Behaved Women
Directed by Andrea Trueman; The FFE Theatre Company; The Grindstone—Luther Room; Sat., Aug. 24.
Our Score
4

By Miya Abe

Demo Gorgon hosts Saturday Night HIStory, a vaudevillian variety show that also features four women, all of whom he names Eve. While the women are chained up at the beginning and act like very reluctant trained seals, they prove throughout that they are anything but well-behaved.

This play is an opportunity for the actors, who represent so many women in modern and historical society, to stick it to the patriarchy. The women, whether they are portraying dude-bros on a camping trip, or being mistreated in the workplace, present their roles with crisp, precise delivery and change body language, accents, and comedic and dramatic roles as easily as they change costumes. There is some serious skill on stage, which is necessary when delving into content designed to make viewers uncomfortable. And yes, this will sometimes make you uncomfortable.

The show’s vignettes present an in-your-face reality check of how society tends to see women versus how they should be seen. In one scene, for instance, the characters play a round of Heads Up centred around women in history, and the only man playing the game has no idea who any of the women are; in turn, it asks the audience how familiar they are with these important historical figures, bringing to light that many gender-based issues simply exist in society, and we do little to stop them.

Despite its ick factor, this is definitely an entertaining show, too. The variety aspect of the performance is a great anchor for the short scenes in a way that lampoons the patriarchy as a mean, clownish idiot running the show. The audience laughs at, not with, misogynistic attitudes and behaviours, which are definitely exaggerated—but sadly not all that much. Well Behaved Women is a call to action, a girl-power protest, and not just something you should see, but something you’ll enjoy, even if you feel a bit tense while doing so.

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