C Royale (George Street)
Until 28th August (9:55pm)
Pulled introduces us to two best friends, Michelle (Andrea Bolger) and Andrea (Niamh Moroney) who, whilst suffering with a terrible hangover discuss conquests and birth control.
The screen above them shows their selfies, and then later we see texts being sent from Michelle’s phone. The timings were a little off and the screen in a poor position – but this was a nice idea, if a little poorly executed. The pair inconsistently break the fourth wall, with the audience their ‘followers’ but this is often forgotten, and then reintroduced. They laugh and giggle at naked photos of ex-partners in brutal body shaming – not something to be celebrated.
Where the play really fell down was that it relied on tired stereotypes, and attempted to derive comedy from negative depictions of working class women. The exaggerated make-up at the start seems to be a result of their hangover, but a section where they intentionally apply it is misjudged. They don their heavy makeup and tracksuits, and we’re meant to derive comedy from this. They live in a dirty flat, and have completely blacked out from alcohol consumption, and neither seem concerned by this. The two characters were not differentiated. If they swapped lines it wouldn’t substantially alter the show. Rather than create fully rounded and interesting characters they have produced caricatures built on tired cliches. The audience are invited to laugh at them, not with them.
Whilst the show claims to comment on the access to contraception for women – the only comment I could see was that you are taken into a booth which looks like a chicken oven. They try fundraising for the morning after pill, as we learn they are poor. Again – lack of access to contraception for people in poverty is not something I will be laughing at any time soon. The lack of deep discussion mimimises the impact that these decisions have on women, and their partners, and when combined with the continuous jibes at the working class seek to propel the hate filled rhetoric that women can’t be trusted to make decisions about their own bodies. We know this isn’t the case, I’m sure the performers know this isn’t the case – but sadly there is nothing to say otherwise in the play.
At one point Michelle asks the crowd if you can get pregnant whilst on your period. The idea is that the audience will give the correct answer – therefore the assumption is that the theatre going audience will have superior knowledge to these women. It reeks of tabloid garbage about working class mothers, and the idea that they pop out children without considering the consequences. It’s old, it’s tired and it’s offensive.
The plot was poorly constructed and didn’t go anywhere. The big reveal is a revelation of the fact that one has slept with the others ex, but the audience knows from the start. When this finally comes out in what should be the climax of the play, the reaction is understated and the pace doesn’t alter from the rest of the performance. It was a promising pitch, and the ideas in the marketing copy are strong – it’s a real shame none of them made it to the performance itself.
If you want to try it for yourself Pulled is at C Royale until 28th August. More information here.