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Dickless | Riverside Studios

Written by Aisha Josiah and Directed by Emily Aboud, Dickless follows the lives of two characters (Saf and Oli) as each struggles to overcome the unending problems that are mounted before them. The incredibly talented Rosaleen Cox manages to convincingly portray both Saf and Ollie, effortlessly switching between the two.

Saf, having slept with her friend's boyfriend and trying to aid another friend with petty but justified revenge, embodies an almost outlaw figure. This is further emphasised with the constant references to Bonnie and Clyde throughout. Oli wrestles with his identity, external expectations and a blackmailer who threatens to destroy all that he has going for him. The story-telling style is familiar to that of Phoebe Waller-Bridge in the highly acclaimed Fleabag. With the penchant for blunt honesty, a strong personality, unfazed by explicit sexual details and by being unintentionally funny, it's a delight to watch Cox perform. Cox has clearly defined mannerisms of Oli, down to the slower and less paranoid body language and manspreading of the legs and exaggerated male gaze. Neither Saf nor Ollie are presented as particularly sympathetic characters, yet through Cox's charm, we can't help but root for the characters.

Dickless is a constant surprise with a number of twists and turns. Constantly catching the audience by surprise with both the grim and graphic details, and the increasingly dramatic obstacles that the characters must face, the show effectively builds momentum. This results in an excellently choreographed high stakes chase, wherein Saf is literally evading her problems. The show is quite dark and unsettling in parts. With tense scenes of violence, threats and vengeance, Dickless leads the audience into a constant state of paranoia and fear. The plots however felt a little weak in certain parts, with the dramatic conflicts increasingly feeling less realistic. The story starts mid story and it's hard to understand the characters or their relationships. Despite learning that Saf has a tense relationship with her parents, we never really explore this dynamic. The audience is thrust into this world at a relentless pace.

It is interesting in the way both perspectives have been approached, with Saf being more concerned with external pressures and Ollie wrestling with both internal and external, focusing on themes of sexuality, misogyny, gender roles, reputation, toxic masculinity and violence. Saf and Ollie's relationship blooms in the otherwise hostile world that both characters reside in, and it's endearing to be able to see how each character feels.

Dickless paints a vivid picture through words, and the audience can envision the world and join the race to safety with her. Dickless is currently playing at Riverside Studios as part of the Bitesize Festival until the 3rd of February, for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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