Theatre Review: Behaviour14 opening night (The Arches)

The Arches
The Arches
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Performing arts festival Behaviour14 kicked off at Glasgow’s Arches venue last week, with two sold out shows.

The next two months will see 17 events held across the city - introducing audiences to the brightest new Scottish and international talent.

If last Thursday was an indication of things to come, it could well be the best lineup in the festival’s six year history.

Bryony Kimmings: Credible Likeable Superstar Rolemodel

A trip to the zoo and a visit to McDonalds may be an ordinary aunt’s idea of looking after a beloved niece. Thankfully performance artist Bryony Kimmings is rather more extraordinary.

Shocked by the sexualisation of ‘tweens’ fed on a constant diet of raunchy singers and dubious body image, Kimmings has teamed up with nine-year-old niece Taylor to write a play that slays the dragons of commercialism - replacing them with a more suitable role model to help navagate adolescence (a palaeontologist pop star, no less).

The wonderful journey takes in the beautifully-observed relationship between ‘dinosaur’ Bryony and ‘fawn’ Taylor, who spark off each other in early exchanges.

Both divulge their innermost thoughts, before taking part in a number of vignettes that range in tone from funny and touching, to angry and brave.

There’s dancing and singing, while enemies are dispatched by way of baseball bat and machine-gun.

As Taylor metaphorically steps through the door into adulthood it’s obvious she’s had the perfect role model all along. Her name is Bryony.

Amy and Rosana Cade: Sister

Confrontational, occasionally uncomfortable, but never anything less than spellbinding, ‘Sister’ is an autobiographical work about female sexuality featuring two very different sisters.

These siblings are lesbian artist Rosana and former sex worker Amy - both magnetic performers for whom nothing is off-limits.

The Cades spend the majority of time on stage completely naked, whether providing audience members with an opening lapdance or simply chatting about their specific predilictions.

It’s remarkable how the initial shock of nudity quickly subsides and is replaced by a curious intimacy between performer and onlooker.

Monolgue, conversational sections, physical theatre and dance combine to create a fiercly personal examination of their respective journeys into womanhood and beyond.

Admittedly the sisters raise far more questions than they answer - even with the benefit of a short audience Q&A - but there’s no doubting the effective way they joyously break archaic taboos.