What Girls Are Made Of at Soho Theatre
After her father’s death, Cora Bissett from The Darling Hearts goes through her old diaries in her family attic to revive her years as an ambitious teenager, taking us with her into her past, in which quick fame, alcohol and a dodgy, cocaine-fuelled manager led her through the rise and dramatic fall of a career in the tough world of music.
The show is beautifully conceived and Bissett is not only a gifted musician but a phenomenal storyteller, whose tale brings inspirational women such as the feisty Patti Smith to the fore, as well as highlighting the struggles of women with big dreams in the small, restricted, power-hungry realms of the dehumanising patriarchy.
What Girls Are Made Of is a story about an indie kid from Glenrothes which follows her huge leaps of faith and devastating failures, championing the idea of imperfection and the attempt to find meaning against the odds in an imperfect world. It is a celebration of womanhood in which the struggles serve only to toughen us up; it’s not your average “reach for the stars and you might just fall on a rainbow pish”, but a tale in which faith itself guides us through the darkness. It’s extremely funny, giddy and silly, but also profoundly touching.
Harry Ward’s delivery of the mother and the dodgy manager is marvellously theatricalised, Simon Donaldson’s Radiohead performance is belly-achingly funny, and Lizzie Powell’s drumming guides the beat of the heart that connects audience and cast in a metaphysical bond through which the play is sensed with the whole body, such that the audience become active participants in the band’s rise to fame and eventual downfall.
Director Orla O’Loughlin, Designer Ana Inés Jaberes-Pita, Lighting Designer Lizzie Powell and Sound Designer Michael John McCarthy have joined forces to bring this tale from Fife to the hearts and minds of audiences across the world. With performances in Brazil, the US and Australia, What Girls Are Made Of brings to audiences in London the message that it is human to make mistakes, learn from those mistakes and to find value in a worthless material reality that benefits only an exploitative few.
Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic
What Girls Are Made Of is at Soho Theatre from 9th September until 28th September 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.