We are seeing much of a nostalgic look into the female rock musician’s past recently, whether it be with Tracey Thorn’s new biography, Another Planet, the gnarly biopic loosely influenced by Courtney Love, Her Smell or tonight’s performance, a theatre production of Cora Bissett’s singing career, which has both it’s highs and lows. What keeps What Girls Are Made Of interesting and emotive is the grounded aspects, the connection to her mother, or that to her father, and the fact that she had this opportunity, which went as easily as it came.
It’s 1992 and in a small town in Fife, Cora Bissett is keen to get out of the small town clutches, and get out of Glenrothes. An ad in the local paper declares: Band Seeks Singer. And the success was real, before she knew it she was signing a record deal, thrown into a rock star lifestyle. Touring with Radiohead, partying with Damon Albarn, she was officially a musician, a success, until she learned the hard way that not everyone in the industry is to be trusted.
Based on her detailed teenage diaries, this is a touching heartfelt story that inspires mothers and daughters, aunties and grannies to come along to the show, this time in a bigger venue than the Traverse, in which it was held for the Fringe last year. A highly acclaimed, award-winning, sold-out run it was too, so there was much anticipation and hype before this evening’s performance, which you could sense from the audience alone.
Directed by the Traverse Theatre’s former Artistic Director Orla O’Loughlin, and incorporating live band, including Pictish Trail’s Susan Bear, Simon Donaldson and new addition, Harry Ward, there is an authenticity and intimacy to this performance, which lies at the core of the success. The shared moments of humour between band members, and animated members of the industry, along with genuinely well-performed pop tracks that document the era, hit the right notes with the audience to receive a standing ovation and it is clear from tonight’s performance that this performance will perhaps last longer than the tour that’s intended. There is a universal warmth to this production, which allows it to be cherished by grannies and granddaughters alike.
Photo courtesy of Sid Scott.
What Girls Are Made Of runs until 13th April at the Tramway, Glasgow.