BOXED IN

Boxed In
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This production by Portmanteau is an intriguing proposition which takes an interesting look at the gender divides and the expectations forced upon twins James (Rose Wardle) and Jessica (Lily Beck) and how they are expected to function and grow within them as determined by their sex. It highlights the problems both feel at pressures put upon them as society dictates and how both feel the other has advantages associated with being either male or female whilst feeling boxed in by their own gender stereotypes.
The pressures of boys playing with Action Men and girls with Barbies are highlighted as the male counterpart is associated with action hero capabilities whilst Barbie’s highly unrealistic body proportions put fixed ideals into their head that neither can hope to attain on a realistic level.
These same expectations continue through school, university and the workplace. As far as Jessica can see James sails through life with consummate ease simply because he was born male. Promotion and opportunities seem more readily available to him through Jess’s thinking and this frustrates and confuses her.
James meanwhile thinks that Jess has things easier and there are fewer expectations placed on her being female but never realises that being a female is not as plain sailing as he believes. In fact both genders have competitive streaks, drawbacks, advantages and disadvantages it is just that they are about different things and approached in a different way.
The flaw for me in this show about gender differentiation was that both roles were played by female actors. It would have been more convincing if played by a a male and female whether as their designated sex or even more interestingly if they had played the opposite sex. It is not that Wardle was ineffective in her role but at times it felt as if Beck played the girly role a little too obviously to allow the audience to differentiate between them. Apart from this however it was still an effective and challenging piece of work.
Boxed in is at The Plesance Courtyard at 2.15 daily until August 31st.
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