Review: Baby Face

Katy Dye
Summerhall – until August 26th
4 Stars (4 / 5)

Katy Dye delivers a magnificent performance in her self-devised show, Baby Face, which examines infantilisation and the dichotomous attitudes towards paedophilia and performed prepubescence. Despite its simple thematic focus, Dye rolls with it (both literally and figuratively) and branches out into a multitude of vignettes, including a dance cover of Britney Spears’ iconic hit Baby One More Time. With only a baby’s highchair on a white floor, Dye captivates the audience for an hour by introducing situation after situation seamlessly. Within the first few minutes, she screams into a microphone intended to  mimic a baby demanding attention, and yet borderlines as performance art. It is discomforting yet hilarious, and completely unapologetic––probably the best way to describe the entire show.

Without holding back, Dye satirises the behaviour of toddlers, preteens and beauty models after openly declaring that she is twenty-six but feels complimented whenever she is asked for proof of identification. The effect is disconcerting because the content is recognisable, although some moments drag on a while longer even after the point has been made. The men in the audience are simultaneously attracted to and repulsed by these personas, and the women compelled to examine their behaviour, from the soft moans made during sex to the obsession over attaining smooth, supple skin.

Baby Face is non-sequitur, and still manages to make sense. Apart from being a strong testament to Katy Dye’s calibre as a performance maker, it hits the nail on the head about the rotten societal standards placed on women.