What Girls Are Made Of Is Beautiful And Wrenching

What Girls Are Made Of, Soho Theatre ★★★★★

By Alannah Dorli Jones Last edited 41 months ago

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What Girls Are Made Of Is Beautiful And Wrenching What Girls Are Made Of, Soho Theatre 5
Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic

Music and storytelling have always been natural bedfellows, though are rarely married to any great effect. Cora Bissett bucks the trend and uses her personal history as the subject matter to weave together music and drama into a sublime harmony. The music and the text reciprocally enrich each other; lyrical language abets a dramatic score. Likewise, emotional truth and context lend emotional weight to the music.

Charting all of the things that she, Cora Bissett is made of, the show takes its audience through her indie-kid adolescence in Glenrothes — longing to be Patti Smith and sing in a band. An early record deal followed by a heady taste of stardom, then one vitriolic review in NME and a swindling from a dodgy manager leaves her on the curb, aged 20.

Bissett demonstrates enormous warmth and strength of character as a performer and storyteller, supported by snippets of brilliant character comedy and great musical accompaniment from back-up performers Simon Donaldson, Emma Smith and Harry Ward.

For anyone who grew up in the 90s, this charming show will take them right back to their teenage bedroom plastered with band posters. And for those who didn't, its more universal themes will resonate: your life not panning out as you had planned; the inevitable ageing of your parents; and the eternal struggle to be happy for others when they seem to have all the things you want.

This incarnation of gig-theatre is beautifully balanced and well worth a watch.

What Girls Are Made Of, Soho Theatre, Dean Street, W1D 3NE, £14-£30, 9-28 September

Last Updated 13 September 2019