Binge Fringe Magazine

REVIEW: Beneath A Cups, Thistle & Rose Theatre, VAULT Festival ★★★★☆

Beneath A Cups takes a comedic and leisurely route to tackle a problem that many women face; body dysmorphia. It follows the story of Stacy, an awkward—Miranda meets Fleabag— woman who takes us through a week in her (unfortunate) life. Dating, co-workers, vegetarianism and more are all on the agenda and you can’t help but laugh.

The performance follows a super-fast comedic pace taken through by Kat Stidston and Giulia Hallworth. Awkward moments linger in the air of the theatre for just long enough, whilst other jokes are sent our way as little tastes. My favourite was the love song gag. As each joke grows the show starts to come into its own, even if you are not laughing at the start you will be by the end.

There is a great deal of care gone into the stagecraft of Beneath A Cups even the scene transitions are infused with humour and character, Stidston clearly thought about the nature of fringe theatre and how to take an opportunity at every given moment. Rarely was there a drop in charisma or that precious comedic timing Stidston and Hallworth built. It is like watching an expert juggling act. Expertly timed, and voraciously entertaining.

Stidston’s writing has clear contemporary influences. The constant fourth wall breaks to the biting sarcasm are familiar. You can’t help but see the genealogy of the character and play. For that reason, whilst Beneath A Cups is hilarious and well-made, it doesn’t feel wholly original. However, I don’t consider this a negative.

Finally, the play touches twice on body dysmorphia in two sections of a spoken word monologue tableau. Whilst the message is meaningful, I struggled to disengage from the comedy. All of a sudden this light-hearted play is almost interrupted by Stacy’s thoughts about her own image. It felt, for lack of better words, a bit random. I wish there were inklings which would give the audience an idea of the main dramatic tension of the play. However, that being said, the topic was handled really well and left an impact.

Overall, Beneath A Cups is a spirited play which highlights the day-to-day experience of all women, after all, we all fail at love, sex, acceptance and of course vegetarianism.

Recommended Drink: A glass of Echo Falls, IYKYK.

Performances of Beneath A Cups have now concluded at the VAULT Festival. Keep up with Thistle and Rose Theatre here to learn about future showings.

Aditi Mohan

Our Race, Ethnicity & Culture Editor & London Editor. Obsessed with the Postcolonial world. Aditi likes to look at how theatre and comedy reflects today’s world of multiplicity. She’s keen to watch any kind of theatre or performance but comedy is her go to, because if you don’t laugh you’ll cry.

Festivals: Paris Fringe (2020), VAULT Festival (2023), Bloomsbury Festival (2023)
Pronouns: She/Her