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Is This Thing On? - Hope Street Theatre Review

Reviewed by Jess Boot-Cowie
Tickets were gifted in return for an honest review

Is This Thing On? is at its heart an intrinsically funny show. Billed at a 16+ (and definitely deserving of it), it follows Liz and Mary, flatmates and best friends, as they navigate both of these alongside their bourgeoning careers as a musician and spoken word poet respectively. Exploring sex, sexuality, gender politics and the negative connotations of what it means to be a feminist today, the pair perform at several shows as well as for each other. 

This is the first show for new company 
MissMatch Theatre in collaboration with SoLa Flair Theatre. It’s a devised two hander written by the performers, Ellie Campbell (who plays Mary) and Megan Keaveny (who plays Liz). It is without a doubt the pair’s performances that steal the show: Campbell is loud, brash and takes up space, with impeccable comedic timing and yet the ability to change tack and hold the audience spellbound whilst monologuing. Keaveney is an unexpected powerhouse, with vocals like butter and a drier humour that commands attention. 

The set, designed by Maya Heritage, is minimal, packing away into two staging blocks, and it truly feels as though you are peering into the bedrooms of two twenty somethings, especially when you take into consideration that the pair never leave their respective sides of the stage. It feels as though everything has been thought of. 

That being said: the play jumps around a lot.  Scenes seem to cut out mid-sentence and you land in another time and place with no warning, and it takes an uncomfortably long time to readjust yourself to where and when you are, and to work out what is going on. 

Sometimes, it works, but other times, it feels clunky or forced. The same can be said for the integration of other art forms. The use of rap and music flows seamlessly, and enhances the show no end (one might even say the feminism rap was my favourite part!) however the movement sequences felt disjointed and harder to follow. When paired which such flawless performances, it seems to take the shine off. 

Is This Thing On? is laugh out loud funny, cringe in your seat uncomfortable and perfectly performed. It has its flaws, yes, but it is also really interesting, and at points tough, to watch.

Is This Thing On? plays at Theatre Royal, Wakefield on 29th May, Shakespeare North Playhouse on 13th July and at Udderbelly at the Edinburgh Fringe from 1st to 25th August. For tickets visit

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