Review: Slash

A silly collage of erotic cosplay that satirises slash fiction

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Slash, image courtesy of Michelle Mangan PR
Photo by Max Lakner
Published 09 Aug 2023

In the style of a 1950s American film, two young women commiserate about how difficult their lives are. Boys, the upcoming school dance, and an overall lack of agency mean they feel like their lives are meaningless and they have no purpose. Fortunately, they can escape from existential despair by roleplaying as their favourite fictional characters, historical figures and celebrities.

Drawing on fan fiction and feminist theory, theatremakers Emily Allan and Leah Hennessey have constructed a silly collage of erotic cosplay that gently satirises slash fiction (for the uninitiated, slash is a kind of fan fiction, but horny). They particularly draw attention to the fact that it's predominantly written by women, and roleplaying these fantasies allows them to explore gender and sexuality. The scenes they share span multiple genres; in fiction we meet the slash versions of Kirk and Spock, Othello and Iago, and various other pairings. From real life, Stalin and Trotsky are perhaps the most absurd but Allan and Hennessey cross some lines with their inclusion of the Trump family. Nothing about this paring is sexy; it's actually quite uncomfortable to watch. Otherwise, the show is both entertaining and conceptually smart.

Additionally, both performers are excellent. They multi-role with exceptional skill, wholly transforming themselves into each character they portray. The heightened style is highly camp and suits the premise. It's a fun look at a niche genre of writing.