Britain’s Got Fashion
Fashion. Women. Comedy. These three words got me excited about the new stage comedy written by David Bottomley, directed by Velenzia Spearpoint, and brought to us by Get Over It Productions. Britain’s Got Fashion is about six ambitious women who sell their souls and sisterhood for 15 minutes of fame.
As a black, Nigerian, ambitious woman who grew up on a council estate I found myself cringing instead of laughing at many of the jokes which were supposed to be about a girl like me.
The play opened with such promise and humour, Sassy Clyde as ‘Monaco’ served us wonderfully witty humour and sass as the posh socialite and her banter with the ‘first ever supermodel –Gabriella’, played by Meryl Griffiths, had the audience in stitches. Unfortunately things started to unravel for me as the play proceeded.
In Bottomley’s efforts to cover a variety of issues that affect women in today’s celebrity and digital age he in fact lost me and didn’t do any of these important issues any real justice. Race, social class, economy, perceptions of beauty, age, sexuality, career and of course fame were all thrown at us but with no real focus or grasp of any real point. There was no plot or actual story line and I’m still wondering what the play was about as I did not feel any questions were answered let alone asked in any real context.
As a black, Nigerian, ambitious woman who grew up on a council estate I found myself cringing instead of laughing at many of the jokes which were supposed to be about a girl like me. From the young, aspiring, white model, ‘Leanne’, who spoke ‘like a black girl’ instead of the inner city youth that she was, to the fictional name given to Melanie Gayle’s character ‘Olufamba’ which does not exist or is that the joke? Maybe that was the point, as she did raise the issue of black people not existing in mainstream media and fashion and she herself did not even exist at her own fashion show.
The fashion show held at a shopping mall that was then supposed to shoot everyone to fame as it was being televised on daytime television. Ah another joke. As I write this I am uncovering more unclear depth to this play, which was lacking for me when I watched it last night. There was no depth to any of the characters and their perceived souls or sisterhood was definitely missing.
I worry that a male playwright sees women as such vacuous creatures or again maybe that was the point Bottomley was trying to make about celebrity culture it empties the soul, especially of women it would seem. The overuse of coarse language throughout the play was funny at one point but then became trying, there was enough dirty language to make a sailor blush. Throwing swear words at the audience does not make things funnier in fact this shows a distinct lack of comedy and dare I say it intelligence.
But I digress. I did not want to say anything bad and I do not mean to offend as this is someone’s creativity and work and I cannot take that away from them. In fact I commend everyone for their efforts and plucky energy during the show and I did enjoy some of the scenes especially the ones that made me laugh. It was just a shame that none of it made me think on any real level and only frustrated me as I could see such potential that was never reached.
Info: Britain’s Got Fashion was at the Cockpit Theatre from 24-25 August 2017 / see link for info