Clouds of haze burst through the opening curtains, revealing five majestic figures, hovering about three feet off the ground. They look a little like the floating Yodas you might find on Trafalgar Square, only these figures are dressed in long sparkly pink dresses with, of course, pink wigs.
These Little Wimmin are anything but little, they are Figs in Wigs, and boy do they know how to make an entrance. Whilst humorously stumbling over and recovering their lines, they set us up for the craziness that is to come. A play that literally beats the patriarchy, gives a little nod to Greta Thunberg and the climate crisis, and has an ongoing pun with Margaret and margaritas (of both the pizza and alcoholic kind), all whilst reminding us of the key parts of Louisa May Alcott’s notorious novel Little Women.
After explaining what we were soon to see, they called for an interval after a mere thirty minutes in. A little premature for the audience, who were a bit reluctant to leave. However, those that did venture out into the foyer, were pleasantly surprised by a slice of Margherita pizza waiting for them. YUM!
After returning to our seats, the play shortly begins, and the early interval all makes
sense. The pink space odyssey has disappeared, and we are welcomed to the
March sisters – Jo, Beth, Meg (Margaret/margarita) and Amy – all dressed in bright
orange wigs and period dresses. The following is the most naturalistic part of the
piece, before it soon jumps into an experimental extravaganza, of song, dance and
jello. It’s quick, fun and witty, as Figs in Wigs never leave us with a dull moment. The
beating of the rug, turns into the beating of the patriarchy. Jo turns into a horse, Amy
a giant nose, Meg a giant glove and of course, Beth dies…
But where is the fifth member of the band? …well you’ll have to go and see it to find out. The whole ordeal between the sisters soon becomes very disturbing, as all their key moments happen at once, and we are thrown into a series of lip syncing and tableaus.
The piece ends on a high, with Beth singing on a vibrating gym plate, a hypnotic dance routine, and the biggest margarita cocktail you have ever seen. Limes fall from the ceiling and the group shuffle about in their bright orange space suits, picking the limes up from the floor with rubbish pickers and loading them into a juicer. It’s a hilariously enduring process, and we soon find ourselves forgetting about Little Women, and cheering them on to drink every last drop of margarita, they deserve it all.
Figs in Wigs have definitely put their own stamp on Alcott’s Little Women, transgressing it into the 21st century, with their own unique practice. The piece takes risks, but sometimes things just seem a little thrown in for the sake of hitting criteria, particularly the environmental montage. Other than that the acting is beautifully comically timed, and they always keep the audience on their toes, with surprises awaiting around every corner. Little Wimmin is definitely worth a watch, even if you haven’t read the book or watched the film, there’s something there for everyone to laugh along to.
Figs in Wings Present LITTLE WIMMIN is on at the Pleasance til the 9th of November. Tickets are available here - https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/figs-wigs-present-little-wimmin#overview
Review by Amy Mawer