Sister is a show performed by two real-life sisters, which explores their different lifestyles and sexualities while making good use of the power of the genuine bond between them. Amy is a sex worker based in Berlin. She’s unapologetic about her work, and doesn’t see any conflict between what she does and her feminist outlook; she feels happy and celebrated. Rosana is a lesbian, has a shaved head, and presents are more conventionally feminist worldview.
There’s a lot of potential here, with the pair representing two factions of feminism which notoriously and vocally spar with each other on social media. Can both these sisters be feminists, or must one of them have got it wrong? Sadly the show fails to delver any enlightenment here, as we make our way through a series of scenes that don’t connect into a coherent whole.
We open with the sisters in matching wigs and underwear, taking turns dancing on a portable pole. Then we move on to a lap dance, where the sisters strip naked and remove their wigs to reveal that they look very different. Most of the rest of the show is then performed with both women naked – a bold choice, but one that reveals nothing more than skin.
Amy, whether because of her long-standing stage experience or her role as the older sister, seems to dominate the show. This piece is far more about sex work than about lesbianism – we learn little of Rosana’s story, spoiling any notion of symmetry. In a piece where the two speak simultaneously, it is impossible to focus on what Rosana is saying over Amy’s voice. And a few of the physical pieces really felt like they were tipping over into a parody of performance art.
It’s a shame because the closing scene offered a wonderful glimpse of what this show could have been. At the end, the two of them casually dismantle the pole and chat about their sex lives. As they pull apart this giant phallic object that has dominated their set they become more relaxed, and their conversation is warm, frank and funny. The show stops being about whether sex work is feminist, or what life is like as a lesbian… and becomes about two sisters. And it is here that the piece is really revealing.