Jess and Victoria live picture perfect lives. Jess is 27, single and embracing irresponsibility. Victoria is the same age, has met the man of her dreams, continued her education, welcomed her first child into the world and instantly sprung back into shape. Both revel in sharing their latest escapades through all the social media channels at their disposal. And both lead the sort of lives that we’re told we ought to envy. Or do they?
I’ll Have What She’s Having is a fast-paced, funny exploration of the pressure today’s young people are under to present the perfect version of themselves. It smartly juxtaposes their public-facing life with the far less photogenic truth. It questions the personal emotional fallout when you’re living a version of life that’s destined for Instagram, and asks some bigger questions about how women can ever really find out who they are and who they want to be when society piles on such heavy expectations.
The show is created and performed by Victoria Bianchi and Jess Brodie. The performers use movement (a couple of tightly-choreographed dance routines alluding nicely to the sort of stereotypes rife in music culture), sketches and sharply-observed monologues to tell their story. Pre-recorded interludes permit a commentary on the wider themes at play in this story.
A carefully pink set and colour co-ordinated costumes make for a fine looking show. But the energy, pace and warmth of these performers is the most compelling feature of this production. Victoria Bianchi is disarmingly believable as the sweet apron-wearing archetype who isn’t quite as happy with her life as she seems. And Jess Brodie is wryly defiant as the girl embracing failure as it’s easier than admitting that she might never get what she wants.
A bunch of plays this Fringe are exploring the issues flung up by gender inequality. This fresh and feisty show may not be contributing much that’s new to the debate, but it does it with so much energy, wit, poignant honesty and the unique sense of exuberant opportunity reserved for the young, that it makes for 45 minutes very well spent.