A Girl And a Gun (4 stars)

Taking pot shots at potboilers

A Girl And a Gun

credit: Field and McGlynn

Louise Orwin's funny yet trenchant show, A Girl and a Gun, exists in a hinterland where the good girl (in white) is every bit as damaging and pernicious as the femme fatale (in red) and macho stereotypes are equally ridiculed. To a timeless all-American soundtrack (Nancy Sinatra, Al Green, etc) the tropes of westerns and thrillers where the heroine endlessly dies are deftly dissected, from Howard Hawks to Quentin Tarantino.

Orwin selects a good-looking guy at random (in this case, performer Jamie Wardrop, game and funny in his silly cowboy hat) and then drawls to him in a Southern accent and slinkily dances. She manipulates him first with feminine wiles, then an autocue, from which he can respond as he wishes. Wardrop has no idea what will happen, coming 'blind' to the script and although the pair look sexy, the results are jarring. Orwin spits out cherries one minute, then asks him to strangle her the next, and it's here the story turns as dark as a blood stain.

Such meta-performance teases out not only larger questions on the audience's appetite for film violence (particularly against women) but what is expected in gender roles.

Although some scenes would benefit from a little trim, the point is made in a way that ultimately feels like both an homage to and pastiche of good ole fashioned sexism, and the ambivalence presented means it more often than not hits the target.

Seen at Buzzcut, CCA, Glasgow.

A Girl and a Gun

The artist explores the use of guns within film, music and video games and what makes the coupling so attractive.

The Continental, Preston

Wed 9 Nov

£8–£10 / 01772 499425

Live Art Bistro, Leeds

Thu 15 Dec

Pleasance Theatre, London N7

Thu 24 Nov

£8–£10 / 020 7609 1800

Fri 25 Nov

£8–£10 / 020 7609 1800

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