Trigger Warning: strong references to sexual assault, rape and domestic violence
I’d never have guessed it would take a cockroach lecturing on feminist perspectives of Ovid's Metamorphoses to somehow make me laugh in a conversation about rape. Big disclaimer here. I do not in any way think rape is funny. But boy is it just hilarious that men have assumed they're entitled to dominate and exploit women since 8 CE. Well, not any more, bucko!
It's time for sweet, sweet revenge.
Cockroach unleashes the inner vermin that's been festering in our filthy repressed recesses for centuries. The creature, C, lunges into those fearful back alleys, parks and hotel rooms, and finally, mercilessly, joyfully, takes on our attackers. The nightclub owner's son. The champion swimmer. The actor. The movie producer. The doctor, the footballer, the CEO, the priest, the politician. None are safe. They are locked in a tower to weave tapestries, transformed into a tree, spun into a spider. Like a true superhero, C disarms the baddies, reclaims our spaces, and makes it safe for all women at last!
Now, every superhero has their own tragic origin story, and C is no different. It's "the bastard" that made her this way. Hissing and spitting with rage, she'd almost forgotten her human shape. But he can't take her essence away from her. Crawling back towards the light, she knows she can restore herself and shine brighter than ever.
Cockroach is hands-down the best show I've seen this Fringe, and a must see in the MeToo era. It's hilarious. It's whip smart. It's bloody important. We need more feminist stories approaching the painful theme of female exploitation in an empowering (and funny) way.
Melita Rowston's pitch perfect script is precisely what we need right now. She couldn't be more on point. On-stage live music from Benito Di Fonzo heightens the buzz, and Leah Donovan's performance as C is beyond outstanding. Donovan is impressive in her physicality, her humour and her ability to pierce you straight through the heart. Her cockroach hiss is as unforgettable as the revenge she metes out.
Expect to leave this show transformed.