HOTTER is emotional, joyous, sad, frustrating and relatable exploration of female (and trans male/non-binary) sexuality and body image - using verbatim theatre, movement and autoethnographic work. Though it sounds like the stuff of every GCSE Drama devised show, HOTTER manages to be refreshing and heartbreaking in equal measures. HOTTER is about primary school fields and kissing girls and being late to the party, first to leave, high-waisted jeans and writing shit poetry on purpose and all those little nuances of living in a body; it’s one of the only shows in which I’ve felt genuinely seen. It’s one of those shows which feels easy to process but hard to digest; where you spend the next few days trying to work out how to breathe again, and I to be honest I don’t think I’m there just yet.
Bringing up minority representation is the arts tends to come with instantaneous accusations of beating a dead horse (because, as the 29 BAME female actors playing named roles in the West End will surely attest, equality is here and discrimination is over). HOTTER is a textbook example of why this discussion is a critical one not only from an ethical perspective, but also from the perspective of making radical new work. What makes HOTTER feel so fresh and exciting is the fact that it isn’t trying to evangelise to a cisgender male audience: it is a play for, by and about women and trans male/non-binary people. It reflects lived experiences in candid, nuanced ways; taking those visceral feelings of shame, guilt, joy out of the pit of your chest and into a big, loud, queer dance party - full of hot pinks, burnt oranges, sequins and a pop-y, synth-y score.
At the end of HOTTER I danced. I flung limbs around with abandon as reckless as I could muster whilst sober and in a room full of strangers. The girl next to me took my hands and twirled me round and we bounced and we danced and grinned like idiots and I felt a pang of guilt about it all: limbs and breathlessness and a girl and a girl and a dance. At the end of HOTTER, I wandered around Edinburgh with that really specific lump-in-throat, empty-but-full feeling. At the end of HOTTER, I danced and I texted and I wrote and I processed and I’ve not digested yet, sorry, try again next week.