>>>SummerWorks review: Beautiful Man

BEAUTIFUL MAN Theatre Centre Mainspace (1115 Queen West) Rating: NNNN Aug.


Theatre Centre Mainspace (1115 Queen West)

Rating: NNNN

Aug 10 at 9:45 pm, Aug 11 at 7 pm, Aug 13 at 9:30 pm, Aug 15 at 8:45 pm, Aug 16 at 3 pm. 1-888-328-8384, summerworks.ca.

Erin Shields‘s hotly-tipped new play cleverly flips the script on gender and TV tropes. The show stems from a simple “What if?”: What if the way we represent and talk about women and men on TV was reversed?

To this end, Shields has three women discussing their favourite shows in this manner. A female cop comes home late, ignoring her doting husband to obsess over catching a killer who’s mutilating young, innocent, beautiful men.

The result is very funny, but also clearly demonstrates the absurdity of insidious gender biases in mainstream entertainment. The action is simple, surreal and symbolic, putting the focus squarely on Shields’s main critique.

The chatting characters rarely move from chairs at center stage, and come across like some of Beckett’s talkative ghosts. Behind them, on a dais, a man slowly disrobes, and only occasionally provides dramatic examples of what the other characters are referencing – a powerful illustration of the objectification and marginalization normally reserved for women.

Searing and consistently hilarious, Beautiful Man lives up the hype.

See our cover story on Shields here.

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