Review by Tatum Stafford
Feminist, fun and full of heart, it’s no surprise the smash-hit gig musical ‘What Girls Are Made Of’ is returning to Ed Fringe this year after its debut in 2018.
The story is centred around Cora (who wrote and stars in the show); an aspiring rock band singer who got the gig of a lifetime and made some amazing memories in the indie rock scene throughout the 1990s. Woven throughout Cora’s rise to fame with her band mates (and cameos from a few rockers you will have definitely heard of) is her father’s battle with dementia, her relationships at school and beyond, and struggles she faces when trying to start a family.
Cora Bissett is a magnetic performer with a fierce attitude and some incredibly poignant things to say in this moving show. Her vocals are strong and ring out through the large playing space beautifully. She always throws a sly wink to the audience, inviting us on the roller coaster journey with us, and is incredibly charismatic throughout the entire performance, which the audience responded very positively to. Because of the show’s fast pace, the performance I attended didn’t have gaps for applause after each song, but you can bet there was an emphatic standing ovation when the lights went down, honouring the very deserving and hard-working cast.
She is accompanied by Simon Donaldson, Harry Ward, and Cathryn Archer. All three play a variety of rock instruments throughout the show, and also double as characters in Cora’s story, like her mother, father, fellow school kids and people in the rock scene. All four of the cast have incredible chemistry with each other, and it was particularly heart-warming to see them watch each other take the lead at different points in the story.
The music for this show is brilliant; showcasing Cora’s incredible voice and providing plenty of light and shade depending on where Cora finds herself in the story. Some of the slower songs towards the end of the performance were incredibly moving, and written with stunning simplicity which was beautiful to hear.
This show was directly inspired by Cora’s own teenage diary entries, and it’s incredibly special to hear Cora tell her story in her voice, and in her own unique way with plenty of rock music and heartfelt moments with the people around her. This is a beautiful show with plenty for everyone to love – don’t miss its Fringe return this year.