JOYCE MCMILLAN on SISTER at the Arches, Glasgow, for The Scotsman 8.3.14.
4 stars ****
BEHAVIOUR IS A great name for a 21st century festival of performance; and no show has ever captured its meaning more powerfully than this strange, beautiful and disturbing 75-minute double-act by sisters Amy and Rosana Cade, which – alongside Bryony Kimmings’s 2013 Fringe First-winner Credible Likable Superstar Role-Model – opened this year’s eight-week spring event at the Arches.
In Sister, though, the familiar debate on the roles and behaviours adopted by women is refracted through the exceptionally intense contrast between the lifestyles of Glasgow-based performance artist Rosana Cade – slim, pale, gay, with a shaven head – and her sister Amy, a porn actress, escort, and sex worker based in Berlin. Both naked – although sometimes stripped to their bare, womanly selves, and at other times armed with glamorous sex-industry accessories – the two produce an episodic show that is delicate, reflective and loving, punctuated by old family films of their happy childhood, and with reminiscences about their sexual lives.
The show – which contains two full-on lap-dances – might be considered arousing by some, and obscene by others. In a beautifully-written sequence on the idea of “choice” in women’s lives, though, Rosana tells us that she chooses not to care about that. And the strange thing, in the end, is that that while Sister might have had a story of pain and conflict to tell, in fact it has none; that Amy and Rosana are just two women living their lives as best they can, with the odd burst of ordinary sibling rivalry, but with none of the judgment, or the straightforward feminist rage, that Amy’s story might have aroused in simpler times, just a few decades ago.