What Girls Are Made Of @ Traverse

Sugar. Spice. All things nice? Cora Bissett's new play is a candid, punchy and exhilarating piece of autobiography

Review by Elaine Reid | 08 Aug 2018

What Girls Are Made Of is the story of Glenrothes-born actor and director Cora Bissett: from young girl learning about the importance of being kind to outcasts at primary school, to eager, ambitious teenager answering an ad in the Fife Free Press which will change her life forever. Joining a local band, Darlingheart, she's catapulted into a heady unfamiliar world of contracts, free mini bottles of wine on flights to London, and touring with Radiohead and Blur.

Bissett weaves a captivating tale based on her meticulous diary entries and her passionate, confident personality radiates and charms the lot of us as she thinks about the years that shaped her. Peppered with punchy songs throughout, the live band on stage, adeptly led by Bissett, transports you to the heyday of 90s indie music.

Framed against her father’s demise through dementia, it’s not all rock-n-roll and late night partying as the initial highs of Bissett’s youth are counterbalanced by poignant lows, as the play tackles themes of family, ambition and loss.

Accompanied on stage by Susan Bear, Simon Donaldson and Grant O’Rourke playing not only the parts of her bandmates, but her parents and a dodgy band manager among others, the trio display real talent. O’Rourke especially raises plenty of laughs through an uncanny ability to pull off the part of the wee hardnut lassie at school and top notch smarmy London music exec with equal gusto.

This is a punchy, exhilarating, candid and emotionally raw play which pulls the audience through the highs and lows of all that make you 'you' through the course of life. What are girls made of? Well, as Bissett reveals – so much and so many things: passion and ambition, kindness and compassion, spirit and strength. Gang huts, stilts and go-karts.

What Girls Are Made Of, Traverse Theatre (Traverse One), until 26 Aug (not 13 or 20), £15-21.50

Scroll on to read more of The Skinny's 2018 Edinburgh Fringe reviews; click here for a round-up of all the best reviews from this year's comedy and theatre programmes