‘Boyle and Waters in LEOTARD’ was rib-tickling fun.
Directed by Lucas Stibbard, performers Neridah Waters and Bridget Boyle transported audiences through the various phases and facets of the life of a ‘leotardian’.
Presented by Debase Productions at Metro Arts, ‘Boyle and Waters in LEOTARD’ showcased a diverse combination of theatrical styles, from slapstick to musical theatre. Together, Boyle and Waters shed a light on the joys and insecurities that leotards can bring to young girls, especially moving into womanhood. They transformed into a variety of strangely recognisable characters from the increasingly familiar world of dance and performance (thanks to Dance Moms).
On opening night, fabulous pop songs from the ages rung throughout the proscenium as the audience sat and admired the myriad of leotards lining all three walls; like some kind of shrine to show business. Suddenly, a bright-eyed Waters poked her head out from the darkness into the sequins-lit light, followed by an equally enthusiastic Boyle a whole head higher. Both actors moved to the centre of the stage in nothing but nude underwear and used a direct address to guide audiences through a breathing exercise like first-year university students. They proceeded to perform as friends, colleagues, mothers and daughters, sharing stories of the pressures, frustrations, regrets and excitement that young girls experience in the world of dance.
Nathan Sibthorpe’s video design allowed for the segments to be followed by real-life footage of funny, endearing and vulnerable anecdotes of various girls’ and their experiences with leotards. For some, it was a fond memory of their first leotard worn. A pivotal moment in their feminine development and an opportunity to express themselves through the adornment of their bodies with colour and flare. For others, it was a different experience. Themes of body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and unhealthy relationships were unsurfaced and revisited.
Lighting Designer, Christine Felmingham coordinated with Sibthorpe’s videos, shining a single spotlight on the leotard in question. Boyle and Waters’ ability to slide in and out of these exquisite Lycra pieces was just as impressive as their changes between characters. Neridah Waters and Bridget Boyle made an unmatchable duo. Waters’ tightly choreographed routines complimented Boyle’s boisterous impressions.
As part of ‘Metro Arts, with Love’ festival, Boyle and Waters in LEOTARD’ achieved a funny and surprisingly poignant collection of energetic scenes from a performers life. Lucas Stibbard, Neridah Waters, Bridget Boyle and their production team have delivered.
‘Boyle and Waters in LEOTARD’ performs until Saturday, 8 February 2020, at Metro Arts, Sue Benner Theatre. For more information visit Metro Arts’ Website.