Words: Alex Grunberg
An abstract and humorous approach to bodily autonomy, the pressure on women to aspire to motherhood, and the conflict between what we want and what we assume we want, Stark Bollock Naked is unashamedly quirky and vulnerable.
The show’s bare-bones stage comes alive with brilliant projections that result in stand-out moments like a montage of mothers (a rapid-fire revue of quick-changing characters assisted by an ever-shifting projected wardrobe) and a movement of embodied classical art where the body becomes both the work and the canvas.
The musical accompaniment of gynaecological medical tools acts not only as an amusing punctuation, but a further exploration of the alienating experience of medical care. The whimsical use of these tools throughout the show turns the familiar into the fantastic, a reinvention of objects so often associated with pain and coercion.
Impressive moments of “eye” acting bring levity, and the two-person cast readily plays with intimacy, empathy, and discomfort between each other and the audience, though some of the lengthy transitions slowed the momentum of the experience and the third act featured a jolting divergence from established character and style.
However, this confident piece is still an enjoyable and thoughtful work that highlights the absurdity and tragedy women experience when reckoning with their bodies, their independence, and the oppressive societal narrative of a woman’s biological purpose.
Stark Bollock Naked
Assembly Roxy, Downstairs
3-28th Aug (not 8, 15, 22)