Of the course of an hour, Waldron performs a series of monologues, skipping from (presumably) herself to a daffy self-help author, Barb, and a number of unnamed, more tortured characters.
Waldron is a hugely charismatic performer, something she has obviously sought to maximise. The design deconstructs the artifice of theatre almost completely; the lights are on on the stage, the only set piece is a backdrop of draped black fabric, and the operator is Waldron’s teen son.
The monologues are connected thematically rather than narratively, covering feminine madness, ageing actresses in showbusiness, and domestic violence.
At times, it’s more like watching dance than a theatre show. You catch beautiful images and funny lines only briefly before they melt into the next. One stand-out scene for me was the opening, where Waldron unravels herself from the black fabric onstage as a poem is projected onto her. Her movements stretch the words out over the fabric, emphasising some almost in the same way a voice does.
Other scenes don’t quite land, like the 30 seconds where Waldron affects riding a horse and yells behind her to Prince Andrew. Or the section where the projector beams portraits of five equally terrible women onto the black backdrop and Waldron introduces them as if she were the host of a problematic game show. Unfortunately, the references are a little too old for this millenial brain, and so these filler scenes don’t come across particularly funny or insightful.
After the show, the uneven quality of the show leave me confused more than anything else. Am I dumb? Is this art I just don’t get? Maybe.
I think it’s more likely that Stupid Bitch Wants a Puppy is best enjoyed in one mouthful. It’s not that it’s designed to be consumed without thinking, it’s more that it’s a visceral experience – something you sink into, rather than carve your own narrative into.
Stupid Bitch Wants a Puppy is on at BATS Theatre until the 15th of February 2020.