Search

Theatre review: Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! at the Arcola Tent

07:26 05 July 2012

Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! at the Arcola Tent

Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! at the Arcola Tent

Archant

Challenging and witty show still relevant after two decades, writes Rachael Claye

Penny Arcade does something incredible in her show, Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!, now playing at the Arcola Tent in Dalston.

This is a theatrical performance that takes some unthinkable risks. Nipple tassles? Tick. Pole dancing? Tick. Erotic and homoerotic floor shows? Tick. Naked rant by a lady in her sixties on obscenity and censorship? Tick.

So why did it work, scooping us up for the ride despite our inhibitions?

It is the warmth, wit and occasional vulnerability of Arcade herself, who has spent the past four decades winning audiences round to her brand of pro-sex feminism. As she tells us early on: ‘I use erotic dancing, especially women, because it is the only thing that women have designed that controls men, unlike all the things men have designed that control women.’

Arcade speaks to us through a mixture of character comedy, memoir and occasional tirade. There are numerous lines that are laugh-out-loud funny – as when, in the persona of a brothel receptionist, she announces that ‘the sexual revolution didn’t do a thing for women in this business other than drive down the price’.

There are moments of pathos too, as when her faghag persona confides the misery of seeing friends dying from the 1980s’ mystery plague, AIDS.

Arcade wrote B!D!F!W! two decades ago after a US senator banned the National Endowment of the Arts from providing funds for ‘obscene or indecent art’. She set out to make a show about sex, politics and self-censorship that humanises and dignifies the women it portrays.

She succeeded, and B!D!F!W! is as challenging, relevant and witty now as it was then. Go and see it – unless you’re appalled at the prospect, in which case see it twice.

* Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! is at the Arcola Tent in Ashwin Street, E8, until July 22.

0 comments

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Yesterday, 13:33
Oscar. Picture: Bella Howard

West Hampstead-raised Oscar Scheller studied at Belsize Park Fine Arts College, but has quickly built up a musical following with his brand of loose-leafed guitar pop. Ahead of a show at Tufnell Park Dome on February 18, he spoke to the Gazette.

Thu, 17:26
Deadpool. Picture: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Its decision to break the fourth wall could backfire, but Marvel’s latest is a welcome apology for 2015’s awful Fantastic Four, says Michael Joyce.

Wed, 09:06
Meru Expedition, Garwhal, India. Picture: Jimmy Chin

This documentary following three climbers trying to conquer the Meru Peak offers a wider look at the supercharged tedium of mountain climbing, says Michael Joyce.

Mon, 13:01
Laurence Fox

The former Lewis star tells Alex Bellotti about playing the revolutionary Charles de Gaulle alongside Tom Conti.

Most read entertainment

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Champagne experience

This Valentine’s Day, the Coca-Cola London Eye is the perfect destination for lovebirds, offering a range of romantic experiences from Friday 12th February - Sunday 14th February 2016.

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe