Reviews Better than Bridget

Better than Bridget

Is your cup overflowing with Kafka? Are you choking on too much Chekhov? Then boy do I have just the antidote for you. Six Inches gambols gloriously through the sex lives of three very different women.

Dikelo Mamiale in Six Inches in Grahamstown on 3 July 2015 at the 2015 National Arts Festival. The show revolves around the fears, fetishes and fantasies of three friends.

Dikelo Mamiale in Six Inches in Grahamstown on 3 July 2015 at the 2015 National Arts Festival. The show revolves around the fears, fetishes and fantasies of three friends.

Earlier in the day, Mandisa jilted her fiancé Greg at the altar. As her three friends – Didi, Tsepho and Anel – prepare for bed, they piece together the story of the lead-up to the ill-fated wedding, determined to figure out why this happened.

As the reminiscing flows (lubricated by shots of tequila), they open up – not just about Greg and Mandisa, but about how, when it comes to sex, each have been testing their own limits over the past few weeks. Those limits differ greatly. Squeamish Didi (the wide-eyed Dikelo Mamiala wrapped up in pastel PJs) has been a virgin until recently: “It got scarier and scarier the older I got.” The 28-year-old recounts her first attempt at oral sex, and her cousin’s advice: “You’re supposed to suck, not blow!”

The sultry Tsepho (in a silky negligee), whose ex-husband was only ever interested in his own pleasure, has never had an orgasm with a partner. Played with show-stealing sass by Bongile Lecoge-Zulu, she recounts how all this changed when she hired a male prostitute (or “private male dancer” as she prefers to call them).

“For the first time I realised what money could actually buy,” she deadpans.

And Anel? Well, I suggest you watch the play to find out what she’s been up to. Sporting bra and panties as she stalks around the room, Jessica Roberts conjures loud-mouthed, brazen confidence masking a tender vulnerability. Anel has come a long way to transcend all that Calvinist guilt, we learn. Or has she? With “skaamhare” the Afrikaans term for pubic hair, “no wonder the Afrikaners have issues,” she says.

The laughs come thick and fast in Six Inches’ smart script, written by Diaan Lawrenson (who you might recall as Sewende Laan’s Paula) and director Kristy Stride. It’s light-hearted, undoubtedly, but this hot-blooded examination of female lust and love offers stabs of poignancy too. How thrilling it is to see characters with depth undress themselves (figuratively, that is) to reveal their insecure, sensitive cores – and to see all this performed with such humour and verve.

So, is this a Bridget Jones in Jozi? Not quite. These gals are funnier and smarter. They can dance better too – indeed the way they move to Beyoncé’s Crazy in Love is reason enough to book your ticket.

Alexander Matthews
Cue specialist writer

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