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Theatre Review: What Girls Are Made Of ***

Michael Cox reviews 'a celebration of the artistic spark.'

How to describe What Girls Are Made Of? Is it a rock concert, a biographic look at a band that almost made it or a portrait of a performer? Well, the answer is yes to each of these.

But to compartmentalise the production is to do it an injustice because, at its heart, it’s a celebration of the artistic spark: the desire to make something, the joy that comes with doing it right and the agony that accompanies failure.

Cora Bissett is certainly no stranger to the Scottish artistic world. She’s been responsible for some of the most acclaimed performances and productions within Scottish theatre for the last decade, and there is joy to be found in watching her tell us her personal story about being the lead singer in Darlingheart—a 90s band that, for a short time, looked like it was going to make it before things went horribly wrong.

The entire production is a pleasure from start to finish. Bissett shares the stage with performers Susan Bear, Simon Donaldson and Grant O’Rourke, and together they take on multiple roles and play a set of great tunes. There are emotional highs, some devastating lows and a finale that is completely rousing as Bissett gives an anthem to ‘What Girls Are Made Of’.

And yet…as a whole it just doesn’t feel complete, like a great album that for some reason is missing a few key tracks. It’s a shame, because when it works it works brilliantly—it just feels like it needs a little more depth and scope to justify its concluding point.

What Girls Are Made Of is at the Traverse until August 26th.

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