THE #HULLMAFIA ARE BACK AT IT AGAIN CREATING UNIQUE, ENGAGING, AND HEARTWARMING EMOTIONAL BREAKDOWNS ON STAGE – THAT’S A GOOD THING, TRUST ME!
Earlier on in the year I went to see The Roaring Girls’ Beach Body Ready at Hull Truck theatre before their incredibly successful run in Edinburgh. Much to my delight, the show returned to Hull for two nights in the Donald Roy Theatre and I had the opportunity to be Front of House manager and assist with the get out. In seeing the show for a second time, I can honestly, truly say that I thoroughly enjoyed it once again and I don’t think I could ever get bored of it!
WHO ARE THE ROARING GIRLS?
The Hull-based company, made up of the wonderful Sarah Penney, Lizi Perry, Rachael Abbey, Shaunagh McClean and Jess Morley, are forever fierce, feminist and fun. Aiming to devise pieces of theatre that are able to start a conversation about certain topics that are meaningful to them as individuals. Using their own lives as inspiration, they open up a platform for others to share their own experiences allowing the shows to be a voice for the people around them. More recently, producer Shaunagh spoke out about her endometriosis in a Hull Daily Mail article helping to raise awareness. Their next show is to be about menstrual health and there is no doubt that a topic like this is hugely important for all women (and of course, men). You can read the article here to learn more about what sort of topics might come up. Alongside working with their associates Lydia Marchant, Alex Brook and Jess Addinall (among others who help out along the way), each of their shows have been successful with their most recent run of Beach Body Ready at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival even being attended by the likes of Sir Lenny Henry. This show has so much to say…
BEACH BODY READY AT HULL TRUCK AND THE DONALD ROY THEATRE, UNIVERSITY OF HULL.
Here’s what they have to say about the show:
It’s the season of cutting carbs, hitting it hard at the gym and shaving everything from the chin down. Summer has rocked up and coerced us all into thinking about how awful our bodies are. We’ve been shamed, dehumanised and humiliated for how we look, and we’ve had enough.
Beach Body Ready sees The Roaring Girls smash their way though ingrained fears, food insecurities, and toxic advertising in this defiantly feel good show which sticks two fingers up to everything the media says we should look like.
Created in The Roaring Girls’ semi-improvised style, Beach Body Ready blends impassioned rants with cheesy fitness routines, and live, informal chats with a beach trip on film, accompanied by a banging soundtrack.
Granted, by the time I watched it a second time, it was no longer the “real” season for cutting carbs being back-to-school and technically getting ready for Christmas but the statement still stands. In this generation, we are constantly accosted with get fit regimes, healthy eating banners, summer body ready campaigns and then there’s everyone posting their photo-shopped and prime-time-of-the-day photographs all over social media making us feel ashamed of our bodies. I’m sure everyone has felt that at some point.
I surely have.
Ok, so there’s not really much to it and I am 100% sure others struggle more or whatever but I think it’s important to share these kind of things not matter how small.
I have always been a size 8-10 and I have never calorie counted as I know it’s more about keeping a healthy balanced diet with regular exercise. Sound great, right? Well, no. I have had many periods where I have drastically put on weight due to going through bad mental health periods. My clothes still fit (most of the time) but I can very clearly see and feel it. At these times I have had people make subtle comments about the bit of podge they can now see when I’m wearing a skintight top only to add to my deteriorating mental state. I have never been one to overexercise and I do enjoy going to the gym. I feel healthier, stronger and it makes me want to eat better. That said, I can never get myself into a routine where I regularly go to the gym so I’ve had stints where I’ve been every day for about an hour, or where I went once or twice a week along with an 8km run, and then there are times (much more like now) where I don’t go for ages in which I feel like I’m letting myself and my body down. I get worked up, particularly if I’m going on holiday (wanting to be beach body ready and all that) and I stop eating properly, or at least healthily, thinking I’ll start next week, typical. Though my clothing size doesn’t change, I get paranoid every time I start trying on my holiday clothes and realise I have to buy myself all new shorts and bikinis (this time round I bought swimming costumes because I wanted to make sure I had something to cover up my stomach on days where I didn’t feel as confident – I never used to have to do that). Yes, its a total body confidence thing. Some days I’ll happily wear a crop top.. at least I use to but now it’s baggy shirts and jumpers all the way, just in case I get bloated or something. This way I avoid getting paranoid on the spot and can just move on with my day.
Food and eating is a whole other thing. My body confidence doesn’t affect me so much I guess. It’s annoying when I’m on holiday or looking for something nice to wear for a night out or posh do but most of the time I’m able to ignore it. Mostly I just get annoyed at myself for being lazy and not going to the gym – I do try to remind myself that I am a very busy person who does a lot more important things than going to the gym (I would still like to go though just because of how it makes me feel). Cooking myself meals and eating healthily is my weakness. I do get myself so busy that I forget to eat, or sometimes purposefully don’t eat because I don’t think I have the time. On a good day I have no breakfast, I buy a pot noodle thing from the union and then maybe make myself a big home cooked meal (sometimes that chicken, rice and veg, or a pork loin steak and mash potatoes, or I go full out for the roast dinner). On a bad day (most days) I have no breakfast (see a pattern?), maybe a little snack for lunch and then the same for tea, if I’m lucky. When I have seriously low mood or low energy, which does happen a lot, I often find myself biting into something and getting bored. I eat food for the sake of eating food to boost my energy but then don’t have the energy to eat food. It’s an annoying cycle. Annoyingly for me, I know how to get out of it, and I know what I’m doing but I don’t help myself. Things change day by day.
Now I’m not entirely sure what I just wrote because it just all came rambling out so I hope it sort of makes sense. In my way, that’s my own part of the conversation I took from this show.
The actual show…
BEACH BODY TEAM
VIDEOGRAPHER – Fly Girl Films
COSTUME AND SET DESIGN – Nat Young
LIGHTING DESIGN – Jess Addinall
STAGE MANAGER (EDINBURGH) – Jay Hirst
STAGE MANAGER (HULL) – Danielle Harris
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER (HULL) – Luke Dankoff
SCENIC CONSTRUCTION – Alex Brook
SCENIC ASSISTANT – Zoe McBride
Written and devised by the cast with
DRAMATURG – Lydia Marchant
DIRECTOR – Lizi Perry
PRODUCER – Shaunagh McClean
CHOREOGRAPHER – Jo Ashbridge
When you have seen the show you can clearly understand why it has been so popular. With it’s completely relaxed atmosphere (no seriously, its a fully relaxed show so you can come and go as you like and pretty much shout whatever out and someone, probably Sarah, will respond to it) and semi-improvised, each show can feel completely different, yet both that I have seen have still been able to create an incredible sense of community within the audience. I delightfully remember some cast family members in the audience the first time round and well, let’s just say you know where they get it from. Real family members within the audience or not, by the end you feel like you are family. Perhaps I’m a little bias because by now I know these guys quite well but you can quite clearly tell everyone else feels the same. Maybe it’s something to do with openly talking about jiggling bellies, vaginas being scraped across who knows what (please watch the show for context), and then sharing a party ring bucket with the stranger sat next to you. The show is honest, sometimes brutally, and finds a way to bring out your inner rage against the patriarchy whilst you laugh and sometimes cry to the cheesy workouts. There is a bit when the girl begin stomping with angst to noticeably red “angry” lighting and loud music and finding it a little too contrasting to the rest of the show the first time I watched it but second time round I found myself wanting to scream back “yeah, you go ahead and scream. Let out all that anger! Tell all those people that have hurt you a long the way to piss off! I’ll be right behind you.” I imagine that after telling your personal stories to a sold out crowd can lead to varying emotions building up so having a little break where you can let all that out must feel rather empowering and releasing. Not quite as empowering as shaving your arse to Lizzo though, that is much further up the ladder (I’m not sure if that was suppose to be a joke). I will never not hear that song and think of The Roaring Girls and feel immense pride for everything that these beautiful Hull lasses have achieved.
I originally started writing this post not long after watching the December show but classic me got busy and neglected my blog. I wanted to make sure that I finished it and got it uploaded since the success of The Roaring girls did not end there. They are now off on tour! Keep an eye out for their shows where you are! You can find out more on their website here!
I 1000% recommend this show to everyone in all walks of life. Even my more sceptical theatre friends have enjoyed it and have pushed family members back home to go see it! I promise you, you will laugh, cry, sing and dance and find yourself suddenly satisfied with your body as you leave. Ok, maybe not forever but I certainly was able to forget I cared so much for a while whilst I was hitting beach balls and wiggling round in my seat to the music.
More and more each day I do see more body positive posts and people trying to share the real side of things on social media but until we reach the day where either everyone learns to keep their mouth shut about someones looks or when everyone physically looks the same, topics like this a vital in modern day society. The Roaring Girls have grasped this with all their heart and are simply here to have a good time with us so that we might go away and think about our own bodies and the bodies people around us, hopefully in a more positive way. It is truly important to remember that we are all different, we all struggle and survive through different things yet somehow we are all the same and we can be stronger together!
The Roaring Girls are next in Crewe, London, Stockton-on-Tees, Chipping Norton, Derby, Stamford, Darwen, Oxford, Burton upon Trent, Nottingham, Louth, Portsmouth, Crawley and Bordon. After that who knows where they’ll be taking over!
Break a leg on your upcoming shows ladies! All the best!