Review: Baby Face (Tron Theatre)

February 10, 2019

For those who have seen it, it is difficult to watch “Baby Face” and not be reminded of a certain 70s TV advert for “Love’s Baby Soft”, which boasted the toe-curling slogan “innocence is sexier than you think”.  Katy Dye’s touring solo show, which performed at last year’s Fringe festival, explores how beauty means youth and youth means beauty and how often the two overlap, unchallenged, in everyday life.

 

The show has an uncanny ability to show up some of the most rotten aspects of how women are represented that wouldn’t otherwise have occurred to you. Constructed with a mix of choreographed scenes, spoken word, and audience interaction, Dye subtly becomes gradually younger over the 50-minute run time, never letting up her persona. She doesn’t create a character so much as settle for something in-between the seductive figure of womanhood from the media that we all know and love, and raging mania. The striking opening monologue, which begins with ear-piercing wailing and is read in a lilting voice with a shrill yelp at the end of each line, Dye counts down ages and tells us how much of a compliment it would be if she were told she looks 18, 17, 16, 15…

 

A show that respects its audience’s intelligence, many of the points that she makes are only expressed through gesture and action. In one scene an audience member plays with her hair, and cradles her, saying more in those few seconds than a monologue possibly could. Though there is very little comedy, I often found myself laughing out of sheer discomfort, which is of course the point. Though the audience interaction is not wholly voluntary, it’s not easy to watch nor participate in, so it’s worth knowing before you go in or choose a front row seat. Even with a short run-time, there are scenes that are stronger than others, and the choreography can become repetitive without contributing much to the topic at hand. Even so, “Baby Face” is a challenging and thought-provoking piece on a lesser-explored topic within feminism. Four stars.

 

 

 

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