The work that Mary and Ell make is hilarious and liberating. They have a distinct and utterly joyful theatrical style, driven by an infectious curiosity and a will to start real big conversations by bringing to life the thoughts and experiences of others. They ask all kinds of people all kinds of questions, (notably ‘What gets you hot?) and they then bring those verbatim responses to life with cabaret flair, on-point lip-syncing and dancing that makes you want to get up on stage and join them. Not only do they hold the words of others with care, generosity, and humour, but they have a remarkable and rare ability to make themselves truly vulnerable on stage. The result is beautiful, and often painfully honest and watching them always makes us feel fearless.
After seeing their first show, HOTTER, we saw our bodies entirely differently, and we were so, so excited to have them returning to the festival with FITTER, their smash second show ‘a love letter to masculinity that they are forever tearing up and taping back together.’ And while experiencing that in the flesh may not be on the cards this year, we do hear rumblings of a third show in the works… for now, we’ll have to console ourselves with their essential reading and listening recommendations.
Richard Powers ‘Overstory’
Overstory by Richard Powers, maybe the best thing Mary has read all year. A branching novel about trees and humans, and how we make space for each other. This is the perfect lockdown read because it reminds you to look up into the leaves, respect the trunks you walk by, and remember how small we all are in comparison to these ancient carbon-eating giants.
Everything Everything ‘Arc’
Everything Everything is one of Ell’s fave bands, she even has the socks. Arc transports you far, far away, gets a little bit post-apocalyptic and political, and, most importantly, houses bangers that give you a really good boogie.
Listen on Spotify.
One more thing
Our third choice is a mantra coined by Mary’s mum: “motion is lotion”. She meant that if your muscles are sore, a little bit of exercise soothes them but we’ve found this mantra to be true on so many levels during lockdown. Motion is lotion for the aching body, but it’s also a lubricant for backed-up emotions – you know when your blood just feels bad? you just feel all over awful? – we have been self-medicating anxiety, claustrophobia and lockdown blues with freeing, sweaty, glorious motion inc. dancing together on skype.