by Penny Arcade.
Arcola Tent 24 Ashwin Street Dalston E8 3DL To 22 July 2012.
transferring to Old Vic Tunnels Leake Street SE1 8SW 8 August-1 September 2012.
Wed-Sun 7.30pm (pre-show erotic drinks and dancing from 7pm).
Runs 2hr 30min One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 871 7628.
Review: Jenny Greenwood 1 July.
Downtown NY comes East, accompanied by erotic preludes 30mins before shows.
As we take our seats in the Arcola tent, we are welcomed by seven scantily-clad dancers; some pole dancing, some stripping, others merely flaunting their wares at an unavoidable eye level. Behind them, footage of the dancers is being played on a big screen, zooming in and out on their gyrating bodies.
But surprisingly, this is the most shocking B!D!FH!W! gets, as when Penny Arcade (previously Susana Ventura) introduces the all British dancers, we learn their names and backgrounds, and the barrier between audience and dancer is broken down, the sex becoming secondary to the person.
B!D!FH!W! has toured all over the world, shocking, moving and enlightening audiences with its honesty and humour. Arcade is looking to break barriers, not only in the room she is performing (at one point the lights are turned off and we are encouraged to say what is on our minds, in the safety of the darkened room) but in society as a whole. She takes the issue of sex and sexuality and turns it from a taboo into a celebration, spreading her message through a series of sketches, anecdotes and strip-teases.
As a performer she is mesmerizing, filling the stage with her presence and captivating the audience with her stories. Even when she stands completely naked but for an American flag draped over her shoulders, the audience are more interested in what she has to say than her naked form.
B!D!FH!W! is a lesson in how to ‘adore and endure’ each other and the evening feels like a night out with friends. At one point the audience is asked to join the dancers on stage, pre-warned by Penny that “people will judge you because that’s what people do”, but encouraged to do it anyway.
This production might not be for everybody, but it’s something everyone should see. As Penny says at the end of the show: if you think your friends will like it, tell them to come. If you think they’ll hate it, buy them a ticket.
Performer: Penny Arcade.
Dancers: A Man to Pet, Sasha Allen, Emily Barnett- Salter, Robert Davidson Beach, Lydia Darling, Bianca Borlant, Andrea Carrucciu, Richard Causer, Russell David, Leslie Deere, Eirini Devitt, Gede Foster, Andrea Pelone, Gemma Sanchez, Rhyannon Styles.
Co-director/Designer :Steve Zehentner.
Designer: Michalis Kokkoliadis.
Lighting: Marty Langthorne.
Sound: Nik Kennedy.