Josie Dale-Jones, Lydia Higginson, Nobahar Mahdavi, and Olivia Norris are the creators and performers of dressed. The show is a winner of the Underbelly UNTAPPED Award in association with New Diorama Theatre. As the audience take our seats the four performers are already on the stage. They are all smiles and leaping around and dancing to upbeat funk music. They are expressive and joyful and set a tone of pure happiness. This tone carries on for the first few minutes of the performance, until we are asked to close our eyes. Lydia then delicately reads an extract from her diary. The tone of dressed. immediately changes and we hear a story of robbery and rape. It is an alarming and powerful narration. Lydia is a costume designer and seamstress and clothing and the body play a major role in the perofmrance.
The show is a mix of dance, song, physical theatre, spoken word, comedy and on stage sewing. The group have a fantastic dynamism and constantly riff off each other. They parody dance routines and stand up comedy sets. In front of an Edinburgh Fringe audience this boldness could easily fall flat on it’s face, but Josie, Lydia, Nobahar, and Olivia have the skill, talent and passion to pul it off with style and heart. Parody, comedy and poignancy is presented in equal measure and allows the audience to watch and listen intently.
The show draws to a conclusion when the audience is asked to close our eyes one last time. The tone is different this time around and we hear the backstory of how dressed. came into being and made its way to Edinburgh. The group are aware that tackling such an important subject in such an expressive and explosive style opens them up to criticism and cynicism. With dressed. they have created something powerful, poignant and engaging and presented a show that soars with passion.