Written by: Tessa Redman
Performed by Tessa Redman
BATS Theatre, 27th Oct 2021
Reviewed by: Tanya Piejus
Tessa Redman is already onstage dancing energetically to pop music when the BATS audience files in. The pink light (Elekis Poblete Teirney), small bed of potted flowers, and hanging window frame (design by Trantham Gordon) behind which she gyrates are reminiscent of the Amsterdam Red Light District, an appropriate place to start this “solo exploration into female performativity, lust, and uncontrollable desire”.
The aptly described “dance theatre explosion” starts with stylised, kapa haka-like movements, no music, and a declaration from Redman that “I like dancing”. She then states she doesn’t care for the title of the show but hasn’t renamed it because she doesn’t know what it’s about. Clearly, this is the lie, as for the next 60 minutes she performs an energetic, expansive, partly spoken, mostly danced narrative about growing up, meeting an exciting new partner and having sex with them, heartbreak, and learning to love being alone.
Her only companion on this journey is the suspended white window frame that variously becomes a seat, a swing, a confidante, and her first-time lover in a highly entertaining sequence of boring, bad sex performed to Madonna’s Crazy For You.
Redman’s unequivocal talent as a contemporary dancer shines strongest in a manic segment filled with writhing anger and lust, red light, and haunting music (sound design by LANCE). She’s not afraid to get naked on stage, expose her inner desires, and confide her experiences.
The lighting, music, and set design admirably support Redman’s story and choreography, allowing her to be intimate or to break out across the whole, wide stage of the Dome as it suits her need. A gorgeous pink dress and lustier red slip and bikini provide enough costuming to mirror the stages of her sexual and emotional development.
I’m Not Going To Lie To You is brave and sensual, funny and moving, showing us with raw drama what it is to be a young woman navigating the world.