Review: (even) Hotter

Edinburgh Fringe
Bedlam Theatre (49), 21:30 until 27th Aug

(even) Hotter is a sequel to Mary Higgins and Ell Potter’s previous Fringe show, HOTTER, a portmanteau of their surnames and just as personal. The pair use verbatim – acting to interviews they conducted on women and trans people between 13 and 97, with a primary focus in how their narratives of sex and embarrassment mirror or differ from Higgins and Potter’s lived experiences.

I am always surprised by how surprised I am by ‘gross’ behaviour from women on stage. The pair talk about (cis) female bodies, from blood to excretion, sex to sweat. It is nice to see solidarity in ‘acting disgusting’ – behaviour that is not given a second thought in stories about cis men.

‘Straight’ verbatim occasionally blends and gives way to remixed excerpts of interviewee’s words, undercut with strong beats and excellently timed dances that remind of synchronised dance videos. This blend was endlessly fascinating, and many of the remixed songs are ones I would gladly listen to on Spotify.

I was slightly concerned about how verbatim interacts with race and gender identity – because it’s verbatim, is it then immune from cisgender, white actors from speaking literally with the voices of people of colour and trans people? There were a couple of moments where I felt uncomfortable with the idea, but equally uncomfortable would have been an entirely white and cisgender focus group. How this is managed in the future is something I would like to witness.

Overall, (even) Hotter is a fun and affirming show, with a great balance of house-party ups and private journal downs. I especially loved the idea of hypocrisy in a verbatim show – of wanting to inspire but still having internal doubts, which is nice to see on stage.

© Nemo Martin 2018

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