Review: I Have A Mouth And I Will Scream, VAULT Festival

“We don’t need a book, what we need is action”

The publicity for Abi Zakarian’s I Have A Mouth And I Will Scream puts it better than I ever could – it’s “a play-performance-art-protest-thing.” With one of the funniest lines I’ve heard in a theatre this year, involving Sean Bean. Directed by Rafaella Marcus, the show has all the raw energy of devised work but also carries with it the weight of something much more deeply considered.

I Have A Mouth… is an attempt to “address every single feminist issue in the space of sixty minutes” and does so, with its company of six, in a mightily anarchic manner. These are women who are just as likely to spit in a mirror, throw a tampon at you and bite the head off a wedding bouquet than sit quietly in the corner and put up with the patriarchy any longer and fuck knows, they’ve got every right to be angry.

Media depictions of women come in for a right bashing – the competitive relationships endorsed by the likes of Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada, the amount of self-empowerment Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’ really possesses (although the cast twerk up a storm), a brilliant piss-take of British crime drama’s love of a complicated grizzled male detective and shinily nubile female corpses.

There’s darker stuff too. What’s like to be persistently harassed on public transport, the psychology of rape jokes, white feminism’s constant refusal to acknowledge and honour intersectionality. And in the show’s most appalling “it’s funny cos it’s true” moment,  a series of apology statements from men are parsed for their true meaning, in how they think they can and will get away with it.

Marcus marshals her excellently riotous cast with gleeful exuberance – Kayla Meikle, Peyvand Sadeghian (following on from Turkey – she is truly one to watch), Deli Segal, Hilary Tones, Jo Wickham (so very good in Steel Magnolias), and Karren Winchester.  Funny and thought-provoking, illustrative and informative (I’d never heard of Judy Chicago’s art before – I shan’t be googling it at work…), I Have A Mouth… is the perfect show for right now. 

PS: Make sure you pick up a copy of A Womanifesto as it is passed around at the end. And with that in mind, this font is Palanquin, designed by Pria Ravichandran – find your own new font here.

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
Booking until 18th February

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