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

Support your community by viewing your local businesses

Please wait

You will be able to read the article in 5 seconds

Thank you for supporting your local community

You may now read the article

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 Entertainment Stories

Fri, 11:30
Neil Young - Storytone

Young offers fans intimate solo and lavishly orchestrated versions of the same songs, with typically mixed results.

Thu, 15:18
Paddington

With Christmas comes a host of movies to the big screen, from festive family comedies to action blockbusters. Here is our pick of the best out next month.

Thu, 10:33
The Chooky Dancers. photo by SYC Studios

This year the intimate surroundings of the Southbank’s Spiegeltent are again host to the motley crew of acrobats, divas and contortionists who together make up La Soiree.

Thu, 06:11
English musician Argentina vs Croatia

The iconic rocker is dusting off his debut album, Dirk Wears White Sox, for a series of shows this week at Islington Assembly Hall. Here, he explains the unique ethos behind his music that spurred the 1980s’ famous ‘Antmania’.

Most read entertainment

Protesters have been warned they are banned from setting up camp at the landmark.

John Cantlie features in the new IS video, in which he talks about a recent failed military attack.

From Britain First’s Facebook posts, you would assume they’d won the Rochester by-election. They didn’t, but they’re claiming it anyway.

At 100 years old, this was Ruby Holt’s first visit to the beach – and the first time she saw the ocean.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition