Horizon Showcase: Little Wimmin @ ZOO Southside

Little Wimmin is a near-two-hour fever dream of dance, cabaret, absurdism, soundscapes and cocktails

Review by Hannah McGregor | 24 Aug 2023
  • Little Wimmin

When The Skinny spoke to James MacKenzie, the Artistic Director of ZOO Venues, earlier this month, we were told that ZOO is not the venue for straight-forward retellings of Romeo and Juliet. This prophecy is certainly fulfilled in Figs in Wigs’ production Little Wimmin, which is not so much a retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel as a total visual rollercoaster based around it, with phallic ice sculptures, vibration plates, and giant dancing gloves. 

The show is a wildly imaginative cocktail (yes, including an actual giant cocktail at the end), as any semblance of realism descends quickly into farce, cabaret lip-syncs, interpretive dance, soundscapes, and projectile fruit. It is equal parts hilarious, tortuous, and brilliantly bizarre – with just the right amount of each ingredient to create a well-shaken two-hour avant-garde extravaganza. 

Describing this show to anyone who has not experienced it yet is almost impossible; how does one communicate the terrifying cumulative cocktail drinking, where we essentially witness a margarita waterboarding, complete with backwash? Or the emotional rollercoaster of a Christmas tree’s twisted battle against its fate? Despite the total fever dream the audience finds themselves in, the performers never falter – between Beckettian absurdism, Lycra bodysuits, and extended dance breaks, the five artists are captivating, becoming the audience’s bright orange buoys as they wade through high-concept visuals and multimedia theatrics. Their stamina as a group is infallible, and every eclectic beat is tackled with equal tenacity.

Although their deliberate toying with time (which “isn’t real”, as we’re reminded) lends itself to the show’s existential explorations, some sequences do tend to drag on the patience of the audience – notably some of the longer dance sequences, which overextend themselves into less convincing stasis. Despite this, Little Wimmin delights in its barrage of colour, metaphor, nonsense, and commitment to its own irreverence. 

Little Wimmin, ZOO Southside (Main House), until 27 Aug, 10.20pm, £14-17, part of Horizon Showcase