Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

Review: Hotter at Underbelly-White Belly

Review: Hotter at Underbelly-White Belly

Mary Higgins and Ell Potter are posing on the stage, decked out in fur coats and sunglasses in a very sweaty, darkroom. They are best friends and ex-girlfriends who, crucially, put a deposit down on a fringe venue before they broke up. They wanted to make a show about what gets women and transpeople Hot, so they did it anyway, break up be damned. Now they are HOTTER (Higgins plus Potter get it?).

In a festival bursting with shows about female sexuality, this one stands out as having a broader demographic in mind than that which exactly matches the performers. Hotter asked women and trans people aged 11-97 what makes them ‘sweat, rub and gush’. Using the same (almost) set of questions for all. So ‘what’s the best thing your body can do?’ gets varied replies depending on who you ask. The verbatim answers are perfectly lip-synched to by Mary and Ell, who slip into the different physicalities of the voices almost as easily as they remove their layers of clothing as it all gets hotter. 

The show is densely packed with thoughts on female bodies, how we’ve been taught to think about them, see them and feel in them, but the effervescent energy of Higgins and Potter mean that the tone can shift in wild mood swings and yet keep the crowd utterly along for the ride.

A particularly touching moment comes from a recording of Ell’s Grandmother recounting old flames. On the performance I saw, she was very recently deceased so this was extra laden with emotion. Just minutes later, the entire room was up on their feet, young and old, male, female and everything in between dancing together on stage feeling absolute elation. To have a whole audience crying and dancing in the space of five minutes with nothing more than a soundtrack and a beautifully crafted story is what the fringe is all about. This is the last year they are performing HOTTER. Please don’t be left in the cold.

HOTTER is on at Underbelly, Cowgate – White Belly at 8 pm until the 25th, with an extra show on Friday at 11:55 pm