Binge Fringe Magazine

REVIEW: Skin Hunger, Tatiana Hotere, Adelaide Fringe 2024 ★★★★☆

Skin Hunger is the Australian debut of the tale of Eva: a grieving widow, a horny woman, and a practicing Catholic with chlamydia. With a box of dildos as her primary prop, Brazilian born performer and writer Tatiana Hotere battles with the subjects of sex, grief and God.

Forget about chlamydia, Hotere shows that shame is the true disease of sex to be fought against. She contracted shame from the Christian doctrines that teach female sexuality as a black and white. One is either Mary or Eve, a virgin or a whore. Sex with your husband is a sacred act; sex outside of marriage, for the sake of pleasure, is a sin. So where does Eva, the grieving widow, fit? Grief makes her want to hide from life, and God wants no proof of her sexuality. What hope is there for Eva? Grief and sexual desire are to be dealt with in private; hidden by the façade of ‘fineness’. Yet, with the very billing of this show, Hotere makes evident there is hope and makes public the embarrassing, painful and joyous journey of self-discovery that occurs when we strip away all facades.

It is through retracing Eva’s love story, sharing how she first learnt about sex, reflecting on her first encounter with religious hypocrisy and conversing on stage with God, dildos, her dead husband, her judgmental sister and her best friend that Hotere has the audience bear witness to this important story of growth. As the audience we see that her relationship with God and Catholicism are oddly separate. God is a confidante and a friend, someone she berates, but also the person she tells of her sexual needs. He’s another part of herself. Her creator, in the sense that her understanding of her own sexuality was shaped by ideas of godliness. Sexual freedom is then found in talking to him, and refiguring her conception of him. Not to mention downloading tinder, inspecting her own vagina with a mirror, and masturbating.

As Eva, Tatiana Hotere, is a captivating stage presence and as a writer she is brave, vulnerable and honest. However, the show is let down by the use of sound. The sister’s melodic Spanish emanating through the speakers feels rather like listening to a duolingo podcast.  When Tatiana embodies the character of the other person it is far more effective and comedic to watch.

Skin Hunger begins with a profound confession of fear, and ends with an equally profound promise. It is a romantic, funny and thought-provoking show that celebrates womanhood and casts a light on what it means to live with grief.

Recommended Drink: A glass of Pinot Gris – refreshing and uplifting.

Catch Skin Hunger until 25th February. Tickets are available through the Adelaide Fringe Box Office.

Eilidh McKenzie

Eilidh is a writer, reader and avid watcher of film, television and theatre. She loves writing that blends comedy with darkness, and makes public the quirks of life and character that we've been taught to hide. She also aspires to be fluent in Spanish, but so far this has proved far harder than expected.

Festivals: Adelaide Fringe (2024) , Prague Fringe (2024), EdFringe (2024)
Pronouns: She/Her