This Really Is Too Much risked being exactly that – too much. Part dance, part spoken word, part slapstick, part feminist tract and all existential angst, the genre-hopping show at Laban Theatre flirted dangerously and wilfully with disaster.
But thanks to the skill and dynamism of the four performers from the Gracefool Collective, it turned out to be an intriguing and electrifying evening.
Kate Cox, Sofia Edstrand, Rachel Fullegar and Rebecca Holmberg – who all jointly devised the piece – took as their starting point the old political battle-cry “You’ve never had it so good.”
Using music ranging from Barry White to Vivaldi via Moondog and Handel, they used spoken word and dance to look at the way women are treated at work and in the home.
Mostly it involved, much like reality, a vicious cycle of patriarchal put-downs and patronisation interspersed with bursts of female empowerment.
There were neat vignettes, at once funny and sad, featuring the cast posing in their underwear as models for household goods. Another had Fullegar running pointlessly round and round the stage in six-inch stilettos and later as a beauty queen spouting Marxist economic theory.
Such paradoxes – sometimes depressing, sometimes absurd but always apt – seem to be the lifeblood of Gracefool and certainly this fascinating and important work was completely appropriate in today’s #MeToo world.
My only quibble was that the show felt slightly off-kilter, needing a more movement and fewer words to give its crucial message greater heft.