Photographs by Jaap Oepkes www.oepkes.com
With "dimply buttocks, wobbly bits and some nudity" this new play could be a bellyful of laughs while exploring media manipulation of women's self-esteem.
Existential angst combined with excellent comic acting produces solemn reflection and the laughter of recognition in an enthusiastic audience which has already been primed with jelly vodkas.
The serious subject is the body fascism which afflicts all but the most supremely confident women.
There are some excellent lines 'Once upon a time they cut the dress to fit the body, now they can cut your body to fit the dress' 'Low self esteem is like damp - you can keep emulsioning over the top, but the damp seeps through again eventually'.
Catherine Steadman almost steals the show as the dizzy, infatuated, celebrity obsessed sales girl who weeps over TV pics of starving children - she would love to be as skinny as them, but with all the flies and death and stuff, and yearns to have her own stalker.
There is some fine social comment here, with a delicate balance of humour.
The Herald, Sat 13 August 2005
Beautifully written and beautifully performed
I loved it!!!
Very witty take on the insecurities and self esteem of one woman at different stages of their lives. Great performances from all the cast. A great ensemble piece.
Office/Project Manager, Hitchin
Loved Babooshka so much the 1st time I saw it again! Loved it all: the acting, costume changes, voiceovers, script, and of course the beautiful women!! Would challenge anybody not to be moved by it – to tears or laughter!! Thought provoking! Funny! Excellent entertainment! More of the same please!!
Civil Servant, London
The best show I saw at the Fringe - excellent performances from all in a clever, witty play with important serious messages for women. Hope it comes to London - must see it again.
Retired and energetic retired 65 year old who is looking forward to Fringe 06', Hitchin
An excellent, well written play that takes you on an enjoyable and at times emotional journey. One of the best 60 minutes I spent in Edinburgh.
Actually, I went to see the show THREE times, because I wanted several friends, my daughter and my women's group, to see it. I am a mother to three, two grown up lads, and one teenage daughter. My women’s group loved the show very much, we all laughed so much, it’s quite an issue, body image, especially as you are getting older. I constantly struggle with huge contradictions around my body image, head tells me 'keeping young' aint where it’s at, but everything in our culture tells you different. I admit to being a 'shopaholic' but am desperately trying to break the habit. Would be great for your show to be seen other places.
During the 80's I lived and worked in London, in women's theatre - not much seems to have changed!!!!! In fact I would say that for younger women it has got a lot worse, the pressures on them to conform seem to be far greater now, and of course the pressures for older women now seem to be also far greater now that we have so many ageng botoxed plastic women as role models around us!!!!!! Where will it all end!!!!!
Your show was inspiring, wonderful to see such beautiful mature bodies on stage, and each of you were absolutely first class actresses, all the women I took just loved it, to see reflections of themselves on stage like that was quite inspiring to us all. Trust you get the funding you need and that this show is seen by many more women (and men). Good Luck, and thank you all so much. Absolutely fab, serious. Loved it. Thank you from a 55 year young woman.
Star rating: Top - excellent
Community Education Officer, East Lothian
If shopping was as good as Babooshka, men would be talking hanbags, not alloys. It’s a brilliantly dark observation of how fashion brands influence women and the limits women will go in pursuit of their fashion nirvana.
Babooshka was a visually stunning and beautifully crafted journey, funny at times, emotional at others, but always heartfelt.
We thoroughly enjoyed this show. It was cleverly staged, with strong performances from all involved - including the lighting technician!
MARCHIA and GARY OGDEN
Actress/Company manager, Wigan
A great concept of the dressing room mirror perspective, look into women's battle with fashion, trends, media hype and body image. Fast paced comedy that kept me chucking.
Televised Classroom Production University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Manitoba Canada.
Intelligent, sharp and funny critique of women’s approach to modern life – a great show.
MARIZIA DAL FABBRO
Being a normal rufty tufty sporty sort of bloke a play is not normally my cup of tea and with my short attention span it was only sold to me on the promise of 5 ladies spending a lot of time in underwear. Having said that it came as a total surprise to then be totally absorbed in the dialogue which I thought was extremely well written and believable to each character. With a danger of sounding pretentious, I now have an understanding of the pressures society put on women and also the pressures and hang ups that women put on themselves; it appears to be an impossible situation from which to exist by. I thought the writing was clever to use the focus of these pressures as the red dress which to me appeared to symbolize what ever salvation each woman was seeking however actually represented the cause of all problems and as a result turned out to be a curse.
The writing was also balanced so that no actress appeared to have a higher billing than another and thi I felt allowed each characters issues to be dealt with on a equal basis and not make judgement on which maybe or should be more important. The play was well acted and complemented by an excellent cast who were all believable in their roles.
My enjoyment of the play can be judged on the fact that I completely forgot about the promise of nudity as an enticement to go and see the play due to how good it was, it was funny, compelling with an underlying message that is quite sad and indictment on modern life. To be frank a play this good should be enough to get a full house every time however to get men to watch a play based on female points of view and anxieties will always be difficult and says far more about men’s shallow views in that it needs to be set in a changing room, than the female ones expressed in the play.
Station Officer, Bromsgrove
I think Babooshka was excellent. I wish you all the best with your tour.
Five women in their underwear discussing life, great acting, humour honed to perfection. What Man could ask for more?
Really entertaining - very surreal insight into the minds of women!
I thoroughly enjoyed the show at Edinburgh, we only arrived the night before and yours was the first show we saw and it was chosen at random. It was brilliant. Loved it. Good characters nice and slick. Well done!
Specialist dental nurse
Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex
I went in feeling ugly and walked out feeling quite gorgeous. Four weeks later I'm still reeling at the quality of the play and the performances themselves.
Just excellent. Thanks
Financial advisor, Bristol
Not really a theatre fan but enjoyed the show a lot.
Investment Banker, London
Made me want to do a male version of the same play.
I came twice and brought my best friends the second time!
Garden Designer, Crouch End, North London
I came twice and brought my best friends the second time!
Great show – clever, witty, thoroughly entertaining
Insights Programme Coordinator, Sheffield Theatres or Artisitic Director, Barefaced Theatre, Glossop, Sheffield
Loved your show! Are you published? Email me after Sept 5 – best regards Harry
Artist Director/actor Miami, Miami , US
Good lines, great setting and good performers.
6 stars out of 5 :-) cause the show was really brilliant !
Bergamo - Italy
Show was absolutely first class. Great script. Great staging. Great laugh.
Communications Consultant and Editor
Clevedon, North Somerset
I was a bit wary of this production as I get irritated by feminist revues which just go in for man knocking. But the lady giving out the flyer for the extra performance was so pleasant and I do like Jaffa cakes. I'm glad I attended as the production was well thought out, well performed and ultimately positive. Not man knocking, but with the point that women can be their own worst enemies. Certainly it was one of the best things I saw in Edinburgh and I think it will do well in London.
Patent agent, London
Fabulous, well written, fast moving and great acting
Veternary surgeon, Edinburgh
Brilliant one of the best shows of our trip here this year.
Star rating: 6 out of 5
WESLY & AMANDA WEST
Model maker/art director
Loved it – I live with a wife and daughters – saw them in it!!
Cosmetic dentist, London
Loved it! Good parody on every woman?
(BA hon. Art History) Lady of leisure at the moment
Excellent. Incisive, entertaining, fast moving, well acted and right on the spot! Glad we were persuaded to in!
SIMON & ALISON FAWCETT
Babooshka is a perfect piece of theatre. Many congratulations. Brilliantly inspirational show. Easily the best play I’ve seen. You have set the bar very high. V well done.
New Product Development Manager
American audiences need to see this! Well done! Broadway bound!
DAVID BROWN JR.
Actor/casting director, NY, US
As Babooska examines each of her layers, the lone male voice penetrates the inner sanctum of the retail establishment and gives Babooshka the solution to her fears about body image and self worth....... "BUY" "BUY" BUY! Loved the line about how they used to cut the dress to fit the body!
Star rating: Cosmic
Agent, Newcastle email@example.com
The best thing I’ve ever seen!
I want to see it again. I would like to read the script, as there are so many gems in it.
Long distance runner, Warrington
An imaginative satire inside the world of fashion – does it mirror you?
Merchant Seaman, Warrington
I’ve taken four different groups to Babooshka and everyone loves it. You’re selling out!
Taxi driver, Edinburgh
I was lucky enough to interpret the show, hard work, but well worth it. Issues were dealt with in a tender manner
The show was good and funny. I enjoyed the interpreter, matched with the show was good atmosphere.
Work with the deaf, Edinburgh
I came to the show because it was a sign language interpreted. It’s great that you’re giving access. The show was also excellent and I would defo come again next year.
Star rating: (excellent)
Work with the deaf, Edinburgh
Great fun, music soundtrack, acting, costume design, etc. Witty, a clear message. Only poss doubt was re: Anorexia story, maybe felt a bit preachy?
Warm hearted, light, fun, excellent staging and well focused. Crisp, light hearted entertainment. Lots of fun and highly adept performers
Actor/belly dancer, London
The best show I’ve seen at the fringe in years. Superb, slick, stunning performances and lots of costumes!!
Restaurant owner/Actress, Llandundno
The show was fabulous. I found myself quoting lines from it for the next coupla weeks. Clever, funny and important. Every gal should take a hint, from Coco Channel to Paris Hilton. Watch, learn, and grow the way YOUR skin does, all by itself. Great jokes, important message. Needs a little more choreography!
We need more theatre like Babooshka. I booked the show because it was an all-women cast (casting opportunities still seem to overwhelmingly favour men) and was pleasantly surprised that it was of such high calibre. The entrances and exits through the changing room curtains was genius and made for such smooth, fast-paced theatre with minimum distraction and maximum impact. Well done. I'm ashamed to admit (well...sort of) that my friend and I did take a certain amount of pleasure, observing some men squirming in the front row, having, apparently, got quite a bit more than they bargained for!! All men should be forced to see the play, in my opinion. How refreshing – all women about women stuff! Brilliant cast, effortlessly acted. The writing and pace built beautifully into the heart thumping crescendo! Good luck!
Advisory teacher for pupils with special needs, Beaconsfield
The best and the funniest show of the festival. I do wish you all continued success with this really funny show - it is worthy of Broadway and the West End.
Star rating: 6!
JOHN R ROUTLEY
Retired Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm pilot
Tucson, Arizona, USA
I loved the show, it was funny, touching and carried a message which was worth exploring. I was particularly impressed by the cast, they were amazing ,and the set as well. I loved its simplicity and the final touch with the red curtains was great-I particularly liked the way that all the characters constructed their dresses to suit their personalities. I felt the anorexia scene was rather 'sudden' I felt very sad to hear all the detatils of the daughter's appearance towards the end of her life, but they were real and so I suppose that they should be included. I can’t fault it. Funny, sad, truthful, great acting – what else can I say?
Head Hunter, London
Hugely enjoyable – great cast – fab script!
Casting Director, London
Anna 1 and 4’s performances were mesmerising; it was funny, compelling and conscientious. U must get it on in London!
Thoroughly enjoyed it – not just a lot of anti-men ranting as I feared – positive!
DR J PERKINS
Really enjoyed it. Thanks you. Good fun with a good message for all us women.
Stage Manager, Yorkshire
Beautifully written and performed by a talented cast. Brilliantly designed and choreographed to maximum effect in a small Edinburgh theatre space. Funny, moving and thought provoking. For once don't buy the magic face cream and go see this. The laughter will take years off you.
Enjoyable and moving (I welled up twice!). Some of the movements are a bit clunky, and the beginning moves a bit slowly, but the ending's great. The cast are generally strong, though they do "act" occasionally (obviously something one shouldn't notice). Anna 5 really gets me with the dead Lilly bit, and Anna 2 is appropriately insecure. Anna 3 is a mad dark Irishwoman who sometimes hits a perfect note of intensity, and sometimes just sounds hysterical. Overall it's a great script, matched by strong performances which create an intimate and passionate atmosphere in a small space. Perhaps because of this space, I feel the intensity would be increased by sometimes under-playing emotions.
I really enjoyed the show, I thought it had great performances and spot on comic timing with lots of lovely detail - the hands coming through the curtains, the subtle looks between the women as they came and went, and the work with the audience mirror. The set was perfect, and the curtains becoming the dresses worked very well. The show perked me up no end, it was pacy (I thought, I liked the cutting back and forth) and smart and kept me interested and amused throughout. There were some great lines in the script, but it did seem sometimes that there was a lot of information being fed to the audience, on women's bodies, which were interesting points but sometimes got in the way of plot and character. It could go deeper into these women's lives/that woman's life and cut back a little on the sometimes quite dry research. I liked the Scott Capurro-esque voice overs though. The more emotional line of the dead daughter might benefit from this adjustment, as it came a little out of nowhere (although very well played). I say again that I really enjoyed watching and I think you did a fantastic job putting it together. So much kudos.
Artistic Director 5065 Lift and Millenium wheel, London
Excellent show - with just the right balance of humour and seriousness for the subject matter.
Website designer, Brighton
Kiki, I didn’t realise I had such a talented neighbour.
Star rating: very entertaining
MARTIN S NICHOLLS
Chartered surveyor, Hampstead, London
It’s exactly the sort of theatre I like. It covered 1 issue – women’s aging and self-image in 1 context – clothes. The characters were detailed and funny, it had excellent pace and dramatic content. But I thought the information in it – which was the strongest part – didn’t divide well into characterisation. I mean each character seemed a carrier of information – more than the person. If the people-ness was enhanced I think it would have raised the whole piece a level. Everything else is in place.
Fantastically creative idea, using minimal props and set. Quite an eye-opener for a man - as promised an insight into the mind of a woman. Imaginative use of minimal props and set. Interactive.
Press photographer, Edinburgh
Lots of fun also challenging of stereotypes, which I liked.
I loved all the elements music, drama, versatility with fabric, very strong messages for women. Thanks
Great script, very well delivered
Fantastically written and very amusing
Made me want to get married
Star rating: 6 (6th star for Charlotte Pyke)
Funny, well played, recommended.
Business Consultant, Manchester
Absolutely fantastic, very funny and brilliantly done costumes
V good, excellent theatre/stage design
Fabulous, so so true. I’m 40 in 4 weeks and still fighting the flab.
Hilarious and sad at the same time. A full frontal take on 'Everywoman' set in the murky secret hell of the women's changing room. The tyranny of women's sizes and shapes is exposed with strong performances from five women who make the cast of Sex and the City look pale and insignificant plus vodka jellies and Jaffa Cakes on arrival a real treat for all the senses.
PR agent, Stockport Manchester
Great! Fantastic! To who wrote it!!!
Very true, great character acting
Star rating: V good
Brave-provocative, well staged and thoughtful. Cheers
Brilliant portrayal of women’s angst with themselves and the pressure of media and fashion and supposed perfection.
Very funny. Great performances. Enjoyed every minute. Thanks
Great performances, great costumes, very polished show.
Fab. Great fun, very moving and sharp. Amazing mix. Great performances.
Therapist, Reading, Berkshire
Superb/inventive. Great acting and very funny
Excellent – eye opener. Brave.
Very enjoyable and perceptive
Well done. A great show. Made me think. Loved it.
Excellent, thoroughly enjoyed it, frighteningly true
Fun, excellent behind the scenes reality
Ok, honest. As a guy it made me think and it was funny.
Worth the 13,000km trip to see a great show
Bloody glad I came – Great script. Great performances and great direction.
Really really good and thought provoking – well done and good luck too
Really enjoyed this – I am 51!
A hoot! Very true to life.
Very funny. Good observation. Pity about the blaspheming
Star rating: VG
Sharn’t worry about just turning 50 and will laugh and think of you all next time trying on clothes.
Good performances from all the actors
Did what it said on the tin!
Thought provoking – brilliant – really enjoyed the whole show.
Topical subject well presented. Funny production getting point across.
Retail manager, Glasgow
Catherine Steadman was fab
Really fucking great and entertaining
I have so many hang-ups about communal dressing rooms – just about covered them all – more on bad underwear, bad hair days, make-up and not having shaved all our hair away – bikini wax.
Touching and hilarious
Fantastic and sadly true
Excellent – girly, sex in the city type show.
Clever, perceptive and funny
Very clever and observant. Could do with a bigger venue.
Fantastic. Thank you
Funny and well thought out and portrayed
Thought provoking, funny and utterly charming
Excellent, funny, poignant
Excellent, very funny!
Brilliant. Thank you – proud to be 50!
Top rating for all women – a man. Mandatory viewing
Very well observed and written. Great casting. Inventive set/costumes. Laugh a minute, yet v thought provoking
My first show this time – I hope the rest are as good! Thanks!
A fantastically funny thought provoking play. A new use of tits and arse in theatre
Very funny, well acted. Sales assistant very good
Cute and tragic. The sad fucking state of women. When will it end? I hate that this play should even have an audience though. Thanks for doing some difficult dirty work.
Star rating: Super
Laughed and was very moved too!
Excellent ensemble piece, great fun, food acting and writing
Brilliant portrayal of women’s angst with themselves and the pressure of media and fashion of supposed perfection.
Funny and very real how we women can be at times
SONIA & SAM
True, witty and engaging
Enjoyable – different. Wish I had boobs like those!
Very unusual comedy, excellent performance would go and see again
Definitely must see, funny, insightful and above all true. All the women were superb!!!
Something most women can relate to
Wonderful – and that’s the truth!
Hilarious and searching
Very clever original idea. Excellent addressing of very current issues. Well done!
Excellent and very moving. True.
Star rating: 8 stars!
Made me cry. I know it was funny too, but I was crying at the end. And yes, I’m nearly 40! Hope I like myself when I’m 50!
Loved the performances. Loved the concept of dressing room. Really worked. Thought the anorexia message was a bit heavy handed and would have like it more if it had been more subtle. Really great performances though.
Star rating: 7/10
Light-hearted fun with a serious edge – very entertaining
V v good. Loved the costumes. Extremely funny
Really funny and well performed. Well done!
Excellent. Brilliant performances.
Sales ass excellent.
Women need help dressing. What do I know. I’m a bloke.
Really very well observed and funny – and I’ve got a penis!
Excellent, well written, well acted. I enjoyed it from the start to finish.
Star rating: The most
Hilarious. Absolutely womanish!
Filled me with love for my partner
Very interesting. Both to men and women
Sometimes too much ‘clear’ but still funny.
Slick, v feminine (naturally) but what a pathetic lot. We all are (men also) to get worked up over clothes. You can only wear one garment at a time.
Fun, true to life and thought provoking very well done
V Good and fun and true
One of the best and funniest shows I have ever seen
We live it every day – two daughters and a pmt wife!
Brilliant! Witty and fun. Near enough to real life to strike a chord with women everywhere
Oh how true!!
Great performers, great costumes, very polished show.
Very funny. Great performers! Enjoyed every minute! Thanks
SALLY WARNER & STEPHEN MINAY
Really funny. Thought inspiring. Well worth watching. But too hot!
Comedian, South London
A tad long
purchasing assistant , Tamworth, Staffs
Loadsa fun, loadsa laughs, loudsa clothes!
AUSTIN LE CARPENTER
Was good fun, loved the shop assistant. You all must work out where was the fat one?
SUZY LE CARPENTIER
Branch bank manager , Northumberland.
A brilliant portrayal of the absurdity of the life of a modern woman in today's world. Hilarious script with wonderful acting.
Student at Harvard University
Good, well acted, but made me cry
Occupational therapist, Cambridge
Great, really enjoyed it
Star rating: Good
Star rating: 10/10
Script not sharp enough, sentimental, not witty
Charlotte Pyke has lost weight, she looked great and so did the rest of you.
Very true. Good fun.
Very good. Covers every woman – colourful array. Hard work. Charming.
Very good, great performance, good to challenge real issues that effect women.
Star rating: 10/10
All brilliant – excellent – made you think. Original
I thought your production of Babooshka in Edinburgh was a clever and original Idea. Well worth developing for the larger theatre audience.
Chocolate maker, Newcastle upon Tyne
Babooshka... was non-stop entertainment from beginning to end. It had it all: comedy, pathos and thought provoking drama. A strong cast complimented the superb writing. A must to see.
Babooshka - Loved it. Great idea to work with and develop. Difficult to do in a new way which the creators successfully accomplished. Some great comedy moments too.
Thoroughly enjoyed the show, it was both well written and performed, women will love it as it contains food for thought and men will enjoy it because it is great fun. I hope it does come to London as it will do well and I would love to see it again
Casting Director, London
Fun... Powerfully delivered - bags of enegy. A great thought provoking rollercoaster ride. Highly recomended.
Community theatre director, Southampton