Theatre Review: Forbruker, Zoo Playground, Edinburgh

Anti-capitalist fun with Frankie Thompson
Anti-capitalist fun with Frankie Thompson
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Eat what you want, but don’t eat too much of what you want. Be a man, but only if you’re a man. Be a sexy, but not so sexy it freaks everyone out.

Forbruker, Zoo Playground, Edinburgh ****

The strange and contradictory tropes of the advertising industry are dissected and reassembled to form mutant new concepts in Frankie Thompson’s cool one-woman alternative clown show.

Assisted by the voice of Elizabeth Parker, Thompson’s mega-mix of adverts, tailored to suggestions made by Emma-from-the-audience, are as funny as they are thought-provoking.

Why is a man shaving macho and a women shaving sexy, when both of the razors being promoted are essentially the same?

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The words from adverts you may or may not be familiar with are pushed to their logical, ridiculous conclusions as the expressive, engaging and highly entertaining Thompson covers her face in foam (“Gillette!”), eats a tablespoon of Marmite (“you either love it or hate it”) and pulls a toy motor vehicle out of her mouth (“I like me cars how I like my men”).

Banal, would-be aspirational purchases are rendered ridiculous through cleverly constructed scenes and a list of ‘dos’ and ‘do nots’ capture the absurdity of trying to follow authoritarian advice where the only consistency is its judgmental tone of voice.

Playfully anti-capitalist, and feminist in a relaxed kind of way that lets the misogyny of the advertising industry speak for itself, there’s a nostalgia as well as disparity for the words that, over the past decades, have shaped everyday life and attitudes through the purchases we make. It’s an innovative, heartfelt show that could delve deeper to explore its love-hate relationship with the marketing speak it portrays, but nevertheless pertinently asks what “be yourself” really means when it’s also a phrase used to sell us things.

Until 10 August

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