Dare I say it?

Tue 14th – Sat 18th August 2012


Helena Blackstone

at 10:21 on 15th Aug 2012



‘Dare I say it’ is a whirlwind tour from birth right through the first day at school, house parties, first kisses, sex, death and more. It is beyond seamless. The script, entirely stitched together out of interviews, is so refreshingly inventive in the fine details with no slack taken. The Prohibited Jargon theatre company has used the full potential of the real material. The piece seems to be a reactive, organic force of unbelievable dynamism.

Each young actress has to portray a seemingly infinite number of characters and, while they are successful in inhabiting every single one with the same ease and subtlety of mannerism, these characters come together to form one “girl kind” with a few stereotypical, spitting adolescent boys in between. They are relentless, confident, and convincing. There is no weak link. If I had to single anyone out of this true ensemble piece it would be Rosie Cava-Beale, whose array of body language was diverse, attention-consuming and enchanting. Suzy Keeping would be another - she appears unafraid to sacrifice herself to allow every kind of girl to become, at once, a part of her. I would apply this compliment to Grace Russell as well, who starts the piece with a heavy birth scene which immediately collapses into comedy and back into the amusing tragedy of the first day at school. I would describe it this way because they manage to convey the light-heartedness of retrospect, inherent in the real lines that the words are taken from, at the same moment as the very real upset of the child.

If I had to suggest any improvements, it would be that they should not be afraid to dwell on the sad moments. Having enraptured the audience so fully they could have easily squeezed out some tears as well as the ready laughs.

‘Dare I say it?’ is truly appropriate to the performers’ age group, capabilities, and real-life experiences which is what allows it to appear not only polished but completely natural - this unendingly energetic piece does not even look like hard work. Apologies for the superlatives, I am simply trying to urge you to go and see this before it ends on the 18th. This is a rave review.


Lucinda Higgie

at 10:46 on 15th Aug 2012



These girls are just brilliant. And I can barely begin to think about how much rehearsal they must have done to produce a show as professional and hilarious as this. The premise is simple: the dialogue is taken verbatim from interviews with people on giving birth, going to school, kissing, fear, their first words, getting drunk, having sex, and losing something. Each of the four actors leap from character to character, playing over forty in the course of less than an hour. It would have been easy for this to form a rather disjointed piece, but the ensemble has managed to make the material into something seamless and cohesive. The cast practically fizz with energy and use their minimal set of four yellow plastic chairs to convincingly create all kinds of different settings.

But what is really exceptional is their talent for physical humour: particular highlights include Suzy Keeping leapfrogging across the floor furiously playing video games and Becka Murley simulating pulling on a wetsuit. Some of the hilarity might look a bit flat written down (recounting being sick in a colander and the discovery of masses of frozen cheese) but it is testament to these performers' talent that these interviews become tear-inducingly funny in performance. The only time the play even slightly loses energy is during the appearance of the paper puppet family planning advisor, and then it is only because the cast is occupied in bringing her to life.

'Dare I Say It' reminds me of a cross between Belgian company Ontoerend Goed's 2008 Edinburgh hit, 'Once And For All We're Going To Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up And Listen' and 'Creature Comforts', the TV show where animal animations are put over interviews with the public. It has the vitality of the former and the juxtaposing humour of the latter and reminds you in the best possible way of schooldays and acting idiotic with your friends. Indeed, the performers seem to have no compunction about looking completely ridiculous and it is this lack of self-consciousness that has resulted in one of the best shows I've seen at the Fringe so far. Don't miss it. Prohibited Jargon is definitely a company to keep an eye on.


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