‘Crazy F*cking B*tches’ was unapologetic.
Warning: the following article contains coarse language, sexual references and adult themes.
House Conspiracy is transformed into a pussy palace as A Little Life Theatre fills its rooms and garden with it’s run of ‘Crazy Fucking Bitches’. A new radical feminist work that toes the line between theatre and performance art, ‘Crazy Fucking Bitches’ is an exploration of the unjust historical and cultural ties between womanhood and hysteria.
The ensemble lead piece introduced audiences to the cast as a group of garden-dwelling Goddesses, crouched upon the grass and dressed in white underwear. The costuming lent itself to highlighting the duality women are expected to uphold in which they must maintain innocence and purity whilst still presenting as sexual beings. Underscoring the performance, a lo fi soundscape detailing stories ranging from Adam and Eve, to Joan of Arc, to Britney Spears and real life women’s encounters of being dubbed ‘crazy’ drives the ensemble to dance, writhe about and at times, sob. A performance that is full of poignant images and often sees moments transform from pleasurable for the self to a forced performance of pleasure for someone else, a particularly stand out moment sees the ensemble of five indulge in the forbidden fruit. As each woman consumes the apple, the flavour becomes orgasmic and the consumption grotesque. Moans of pleasure fill the garden air, chunks of apple spill from their mouths but all of a sudden pleasure turns to pain as a punishment for their self-indulgence. This is a recurring theme throughout the performance; it pushes audiences to consider the pattern of society deeming women ‘crazy’ anytime they prioritise their own needs above those of men.
The ensemble eventually led the audience into the house to complete the next portion of the performance with an intimate proximity that literally shoves audiences faces into the action. Inside the house, white books and sheets litter the floor in a room that glows red in ambient warm light. Delving into themes of motherhood, house wifedom and unfit hospital treatment, audiences witness birth sequences, the eating of children, a lobotomy under strobing lights and a tearing of book pages. A clever use of stockings and wool paired with a dedication to a foul physicality that saw performers contort their faces, cough and retch, created gruesome images of gore.
The performers should be commended for their complete commitment to embodying the abstract with not just their physicality but their breath work and expression too. In particular, Eli Free and Maddie Armit pushed boundaries, both with a fiery intensity and complete disregard for maintaining the digestible, pretty image women are often expected to uphold.
As a physical theatre piece, ‘Crazy Fucking Bitches’ found it’s strongest moments in it’s more abstract and free images with some room for refinement and more complexity in it’s choreographed dance based moments. Driven by soundscape and music, although the lo-fi quality of the recording added a gritty aesthetic, it was at times in sacrifice for clarity of hearing.
A non-narrative physical theatre piece, ‘Crazy Fucking Bitches’ is radical in both it’s form and it’s content with a complete disregard in presenting itself in a digestible manner. It serves to punch audiences with its themes and be blatant with its distaste for the patriarchy.
‘Crazy Fucking Bitches’ performed until Sunday 17th September 2023 at House Conspiracy, West End. For more information visit their website.