Review: dressed. at Underbelly Cowgate

If you head to the ticket booking site for dressed. you’ll be presented with the assurance that the show features the following selling points: ‘choreography, live sewing, comedy, and original music’.

None of these supposed features screamed out to me, I was confused by the live sewing aspect, and I went to the venue prepared for the show to potentially be a bit bland.

I was wrong.

dressed. is a brutally honest, raw, untethered, chaotic (amongst the many other adjectives the cast said I’d describe it as) insight into Lydia Higginson’s life following a serious assault. It details the different characters Higginson felt she had to play in order to appear ‘okay’ and the affects these had on her mentally, physically, and on her relationships through wild use of juxtaposition.

Energetic, flowing group choreography full of saccharine smiles and laughs are contrasted against the violent, grotesque solo performance of Olivia Norris’ ‘dark woman’ character. Meanwhile, beautiful, confident vocal performances by Imogen Mahdavi are contrasted against haunting monologues, anguished wailing and tears from the exceptionally talented cast.

However, as skilled as these performances are, don’t think this is a comfortable, breezy hour. Higginson herself openly admits that it’s probably too abstract, a bit ‘too much’, and perhaps it needs to be in a society that is so eager to jump onto the next big group campaign, such as the #MeToo movement, yet ignorantly discard the individual cases involved.

I left dressed. unsure if what I had watched was fantastic or just bizarre, and I had no idea how I was going to write this review (not helped by the fact I was so absorbed by the show I forgot to write any notes). However, as I kept running the show over in my mind as the day went on it was this lasting impression that made me realise I had witnessed something really special.

‘dressed.’ Underbelly Cowgate, 9-26 Aug (not 14), 6pm

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