She smiles at us; we smile back nervously. In sequinned hotpants, in front of a fan, she jerks and spasms, striking poses and moves that are familiar but somehow submerged. She’s a dancer but also a puppet. When she stops, she tells us she made it for us. Well, not specifically for us.
The first of this year’s Edinburgh theatre offerings to reach Soho Theatre (it debuted at Forest Fringe), Made in China’s playfully unsettling piece distils the company’s abiding interest in the performative space between stage and audience. It digs not only into our relationships with each other but also with theatre.
Jessica Latowicki is on stage, but show co-creator (and other half of Made in China) Tim Cowbury is part of the experience. As she spits frustration at him, as her 'boyfriend', over our heads, they play with their backgrounds in performance art and playwriting. She addresses us, but tells us what to say; he points out the lines she's skipped.
Tonight I’m Gonna Be the New Me is a sharply clever skewering of impossible desires and frustrations, where language is as slippery as intention. Sometimes it’s beautiful, as captivating as love, but spiked. Latowicki’s smile draws us in, but there’s an edge – a thrill of contempt.
The spotlight is sometimes literally on us. Are the pair there for our pleasure? And what does that mean? Full of funny, well-aimed jabs at romance, this reality-blurring piece maps the overlap with what we crave from theatre and the illusion of spontaneity we buy into.