Isley Lynn’s award-winning Skin a Cat is currently playing in The Bunker Theatre, having transferred from its sell-out run at the Vault Festival.
The Bunker Theatre is a new venue, formally a disused underground car park next door to The Meniere Chocolate Factory – It’s now a black box performance space complete with bar and pop-up performances and live music following shows. The Bunker’s programming team has chosen Skin A Cat as their inaugural production, it’s a script and performance that encompasses their values; ambitious artists for ambitious audiences, offering unforgettable adventures.
The show is definitely unforgettable, and I’m happy to say, for ALL the right reasons. Running just short of 1 hour 30 minutes, this exciting piece of new theatre tells a story that isn’t currently being told. An important story that needs to be told, which is probably why the company has partnered with the sexual health charity Brook, helping them to reach marginalised and hard to reach audiences.
The story is autobiographic in context, charting 10 years of our lead character’s life – from getting her first period right through to the moment she finally loses her virginity and the counseling sessions that followed it. The play is fast-paced, packed with plenty of one-liners and great humour juxtaposed with deep, emotional empowering text that promotes a powerful message about individuality and self-acceptance.
The show is a pure joy to watch, Isley Lynn has crafted a piece that is brutally honest, frank and informative. The show looks at the isolating condition of Vaginismus – for those not in the know, the dictionary defines vaginismus as a “painful spasmodic contraction of the vagina in response to physical contact or pressure, especially during sexual intercourse”. A serious subject that Lynn has tackled with warmth, comedy, and emotional realness. The condition may be the subject of the play, however, the wider themes and messages are about acceptance, especially of our own bodies, about embracing difference and not being ashamed of pleasure. A message that needs to be heard and should be taught at school. When it comes to our bodies normal isn’t normal.
The piece is performed by a small and supremely talented cast of 3 ; all of whom were in the original production at the Vault Festival. The lead character, Alana is performed by Lydia Larson, all other female characters are performed by Jessica Clark and all male characters are played by Jassa Ahluwalia. All three performers are superb, their on-stage presences work really well together, their on-stage connection is faultless, excellent chemistry and lovely to watch.
Review by Faye Stockley
Straight from the sold out run at Vault Festival where it was awarded Pick Of The Year, SKIN A CAT is a bracingly candid account of sex and shame, gut-wrenching and side-splitting by turns, this is a truly alternative coming of age story about going all the way.
SKIN A CAT follows Alana on an awkward sexual odyssey with a kaleidoscope of off-kilter characters: from getting her first period at nine years old and freaking out her frantic mother, to watching bad porn at a house party with her best friend’s boyfriend, to a painful examination by an overly cheery gynaecologist – all in the pursuit of losing her virginity and finally becoming a woman, whatever that means…
Skin a Cat
12th October – 5th November 2016