As part of the OBR V-Festival and International Women’s week, One Billion Rising brings Dear John to the 3 Minute Theatre in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Sexual stereotyping and how women are portrayed by the media, particularly the advertising sector clearly inspires this 60 minute show of non-stop sketches and cleverly–twisted parodies of familiar adverts.
The laughs come right from the outset and don’t let-up. Director and producer Stephanie Singer does a wonderful job and the talent of the four actors shines through. The sketches are cleverly mixed, so that just as you settle into these light-hearted skits, you are suddenly challenged with a piece which, although exaggerated, is uncomfortably close the truth. Particularly memorable sketches include the Low-S dietary range and the creative process around designing an advertising campaign for panty-liners – you will never look at those adverts in the same way again.
On-stage performances are cleverly mixed in with video and audio to seamlessly guide the audience through sketch after sketch without the feeling that you are jumping around or getting lost and common characters return to continue the stories from where they left off. If you’re after a good laugh and maybe to have your perceptions challenged, then get yourself down to Dear John.
- Geoff Hodge