What Girls Are Made Of

Aug 16 2023 | By More

★★★★★     Exhilarating

Assembly Rooms(Venue 20): Fri 4 – Sun 27 Aug 2023
Review by Suzanne O’Brien

Cora Bissett is nothing short of incredible in her gig-theatre show What Girls Are Made Of. It is full-throttle, high energy and, at points, it really does feel like you are front row at a gig.

Inspired by her teenage diaries that she found stuffed in her father’s attic, Cora relives specific times in her life which has brought her to this very moment. From her school days, to getting a record deal with the Fife band Darlingheart in the 90’s, to being labelled a ‘Phony record company contrivance’, by the NME.

Cora Bissett in What Girls Are Made Of. Pic: Niall Walker.

Cora Bissett’s indie-rock band, Darlingheart, who supported the likes of Blur and Radiohead, are a big part of the story and are brought to life by a fantastic live band. With Bissett’s confident vocals, the music is electric, and this is matched with energetic lighting designed by Lizzie Powell.

In this fast-paced mix between monologue and concert directed by Orla Loughlin, there are many short scenes. The band members take on various roles in Bissett’s story, all of which are believable and as the piece goes on, instantly recognisable.

never missing a beat

Simon Donaldson and Harry Ward are constantly changing from one character to the next and do so with ease, never missing a beat. They are particularly funny as Cora’s parents, often getting a laugh before they even start speaking.

Darlingheart’s original drummer Cathryn Archer rejoins Bissett to keep that beat sharp, occasionally stepping out from behind her drum kit. In one scene that is particularly telling of how young they were, the two school-age girls discuss their Highers over a bag of crisps while taking a break from the recording studio.

Cathryn Archer and Cora Bissett in What Girls Are Made Of. Pic: Niall Walker.

Unfortunately, the naive young band from Kirkcaldy were taken advantage of and the brutal nature of the music industry is shown through multiple pushy, brash and arrogant characters and their big empty promises.

There’s an emotional shift after the band is forced to split and Bissett has to carry on without them – this time with a big debt weighing her down. It is a wild rollercoaster of highs and lows but it’s so worth hanging on for the ride.

Co-produced by Raw Material and Traverse Theatre Company the piece will make you laugh one minute and cry the next. Uplifting and inspiring, it is a privilege to hear the detailed story of such a strong woman and to see what she really is made of.

Running time: one hour and 25 minutes (no interval)
Assembly Rooms (Music Hall), 54 George Street, EH2 2LR (Venue 20),
Friday 4 – Sunday 27 August 2023
Daily (not 9, 14, 21): 1pm
Tickets and details: Book here.

Raw Material links

Twitter: @RAWMaterialArts
Facebook: @RAWMaterialArts
Instagram @raw_material_arts

Website: http://www.rawmaterialarts.com/wgamo

Cora Bissett in What Girls Are Made Of. Pic: Niall Walker.


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