Edinburgh 2013: Credible Likeable Superstar Rolemodel - A bold, brilliant show from Bryony Kimmings
A grown woman and a nine-year-old girl, in matching lace-trimmed page-boy outfits and long blonde hair, perform a sexily choreographed disco dance to Jessie J in front of a glittery, woodland backdrop. It’s ridiculous and funny, both like a fairytale and very modern, and a bit unsettling: an accurate description of the whole of Bryony Kimmings’ show, performed with her little niece Taylor. It’s also wonderfully, heart-burstingly righteous.
Kimmings has decided tweenagers are in serious need of new role models: ones that aren’t cup-cake kissing, coyly eyelash fluttering Disney Princesses, or pouting, fame-promoting, product-shifting pornified pop-stars. The pair go on a quest - waging a glittery armour-clad war on no lesser beast than the internet. Kimmings was clearly genuinely horrified when she started Googling as if she were nine, getting a fresh perspective on all the violent, sexualised content and bile that is a mere click away from Taylor’s innocent mind; it makes her feel “filled with all the rage in the world”. She tries gouging Taylor’s eyes out with a spoon - the sound effects are queasy - so she’ll never have to see, say, a girl shitting in another girl’s mouth.
But that won’t do; life is for living. They start a new project to create their own credible likable superstar role model. Kimmings becomes Taylor’s imaginary ideal: Catherine Bennett, a palaeontologist pop star, a “normal lady” who is kind and hard-working and likes animals, tuna pasta and riding bikes. They do now actually go into primary schools, and Catherine has her own website and music videos.
It seems Kimmings has genuinely undergone a life-changing experience. The show still has typical amounts of explicit self-confession from a performer who’s always used her own life for her art; she admits to worrying she doesn't have much to offer a child herself, as someone who lives in a mouldy flat, “doesn't give money to charity, does fund the drugs trade”. But now, Kimmings says with heart-on-sleeve honesty and no little idealism, she really does want to change the world, to make it better for Taylor.
Kimmings’ protective love for this girl is heart-wrenching and tear-welling; her ‘this is what’s wrong with the world’, small-p politics laudably unabashed in their feminist aims. But this show is also dry and witty, warm and silly, and clearly made in cahoots with her charming niece (who's evidently invented her aunt's performing genes, too). Bold, brave and very brilliant; don’t miss.
Till 25 August; 0131 556 6550
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientists who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Ebola outbreak: What is bushmeat – and is it to blame for the disease that has killed thousands?
- 3 Star Wars memorabilia called a 'bit of plastic' on Antiques Roadshow by Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
- 4 Meet Thea, Norway's 12-year-old child bride
- 5 Russell Brand might seem like a sexy revolutionary worth getting behind, but he will only fail his fans
Breaking Bad season 6 is still not happening
Doctor Who, Flatline - review: Clara isn’t half bad as the Time Lord
Alfred Hitchcock's unseen Holocaust documentary to be screened
X Factor 2014 results: Chloe Jasmine and Stephanie Nala sent home
Star Wars memorabilia called a 'bit of plastic' on Antiques Roadshow by Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'