A Girl With A Gun by Louise Orwin – Summerhall, Edinburgh
Louise Orwin’s eerie, enticing show is a Hollywood movie gone awry. Beginning with Jean-Luc Godard’s cynical quip that all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun, it spins into a dream sequence of disconnected scenes and off-kilter move tropes, deconstructing the assumptions behind movies, audiences and the act of watching. Orwin works with an actor who has never seen the script before, and he is drawn through his strange, halting role by an autocue. But Orwin is autocued too and, as a drawling, cherry stone-spitting, gun-toting Southern moll she seems suspended in Hollywood dreamtime. Meanwhile, her cohort looks increasingly awkward as hard man posing, always with a weapon, leads into cowboy style domestic abuse.
A Girl With a Gun is a sharp critique of the deeply rooted sexism and violence at the heart of Westerns, war movies and gangsters, leaving a nasty taste in the mouth and an empty cultural core. It is also a sequence of David Lynch scenes of disconnection, repetition and general weirdness. It is an unpredictable, compelling and highly memorable piece of theatre driven by the dark imagination and performance skills of the highly talented Orwin. Proper fringe theatre, it packs more into an hour than we have any right to expect.