"I Am Woman" Review - Edinburgh University Theatre Company

Design Credit: Jasmin Geissen

Bedlam Festival tends to be very hit and miss, with way more misses than hits. This manages to be both, for very good reasons.

As a concept, the play "I Am Woman" is absolutely fantastic: interview women and get their answers to questions including ones such as "what's your favourite thing about being a woman?" and "what song makes you feel empowered?", then dramatising the answers given, as well as the occasional prerecorded interjection from the interviews.

One of my favourite sequences was one of the questions mentioned above, where the actors danced to songs which the interviewees had picked. All five actors lead a song each, and then; they lead another song each. This is where I realised my main problem with the show: there was twice as much of everything as there needed to be. Where a section felt fresh for five minutes, it went on for another five. This show needed to be half an hour long, and if it was it would easily have been one of the most powerful pieces of theatre I'd seen, but the whole thing just felt overexposed to me.

With that said, the message and inspiration behind "I Am Woman" is really moving. The actors do an amazing job in their multiple roles, in particular there were standout performances from Aude Naudi-Bonnemaison and Liz Dokukina. All aspects of the storytelling were really interesting, and I can't wait to see if this production ends up going further with some serious refinement, as I think it has a really exciting concept along with an important story to tell.

To summarise, "I Am Woman" is a 5 star concept with 3 star execution - the great writing, direction and acting is partially let down by overexposure to the source material, resulting in the audience feeling like they're watching the same show twice. With that said, there is way more bad than good here, and the show is very close to being perfect.

I think the message here is quite relevant to a lot of shows: don't extend yourself to fill a runtime you don't have the content for.

Verdict: ★★★½

"I Am Woman" has finished its run at Bedlam Theatre.


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