Let's start off by saying this might not be the best show to see on your anniversary as it definitely kills the romance mood. On the other hand, the daring and complicated subject matter of Louise Orwin's Oh Yes Oh No is exactly what we should be exploring with our partners.
Orwin explores the subject of sexual assault and sexuality from a completely unexpected point of view: rape victims with rape fantasies. The Battersea Arts Centre website puts up a blurb that almost undermines the power of this subject with such a simple summation.
We see Orwin for most of the play with a long blond braid, tight clothing, and voice distortion. This is incredibly powerful in removing the audience from the performer and making her more like the Barbie dolls projected on the back screen. You need this kind of seperation when talking about such conflicting subject matter.
Through a combination of recorded survivor interviews, Orwin's one sided conversations with the audience, and 60's dance routines, the audience is exposed to every combination of thoughts on this subject. Are these fantasies feminist? Are they anti-feminist? Should they be explored? Should they be repressed? How do they relate to being a survivor?
While the show was thought-provoking and innovative, it felt long and self-indulgent at times. It was 15 minutes too long with an extremely slow monologue to the audience at the end that seemed cliche after the original and avante garde methods of the rest of the play, followed by Orwin dancing to the entirety of a PJ Harvey song. This was meant to be a moment of freedom, but, again, seemed tacky and to not fit with the power of the rest of the show.
Oh Yes Oh No is well worth a watch and playing until the 23rd of November at Battersea Arts Centre. Get tickets here.