Interviews and articles about Free Lunch with the StenchWench:
Interview in The Guardian with Nell Frizell:
Article written for Exeunt - 'Where are the voices exploring working class experiences in the arts?'
Interview for The Stage:
Blog written for Big Issue North:
Paul Sng's review for CPT:
Free Lunch with the StenchWench Reviews:
‘A cross between performance art, stand-up, a gig and a call to arms. A humorous and truly compelling performance.’
‘Catherine Hoffmann's StenchWench is a labour of love and hits a home run for the proletariat! If you like your shows raw, real and dipping with beauty, go see this one. It will not disappoint.’
‘At once funny, touching and full of sadness, StenchWench focuses on a harsh hidden upbringing in the UK, marked out by class and abject poverty. Cath takes us on a journey through some very personal experiences in her childhood struggle for survival and the lengths society makes us go to appear ‘normal’.’
Gill Lloyd, Co-Director Artsadmin
Soup kitchen for the Soul
A Tender and generous exchange, recommended
With some of the most exciting pieces of the weekend nestled away for audiences to discover for themselves – including fun, inventive works by Emma Frankland and Catherine Hoffmann
The congenial act of being cooked for; being hosted—it settles you in. It creates an atmosphere that, very quickly, becomes ripe for sharing: Stories from lucid prompts: birth, birth control, menopause, desire/no desire for children, first periods, period parties, pregnancy, giving birth, abortions, male menopause, male periods, time off work, pain, disbelief. (These are keywords, because what happens in wombmanifesting kitchen, stays in wombmanifesting kitchen).
Wombmanifesting kitchen uses feminist tactics similar to those of second wave feminist art, but accelerates them and uses them in a new time and context, for new (or continuing) conversations. Through this piece, the artists acknowledge the need for these conversations to still be taking place; the fact that women’s reproductive rights are still not being addressed in ways that work in both law and education.
Delicious clots of menstrual jelly, and the placenta pancakes were delicious too. Birthing cake, a hot flush shot to end.
Critical Interruptions- SteakhouseLive Writing
Guilt and Shame hotline
Free hugs, guilt-disposal, and a delicate piece about the terrors of hitting 30 were among the low-key theatrical treats at this year's Latitude... You can relieve yourself of guilt in the Rebekah Brooks Guilt and Shame Booth, run by a flame-haired beauty, where fake tears come in bottle. It's the small, curated spaces like Forest Fringe and Home's Alternative Village Fete that work best.
Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
Madame Ex’s Paint and Taint Sessions:
'This eloquent work is a playful exploration of loves lost, pain of the memories and letting go. In a one to one encounter with Madame Ex, audience members delve as deep as they wish into reminiscences of failed loves. With Hoffman’s deft touch, Madame Ex becomes counsel for those baring their souls or comedic sidekick for those wishing to keep it light.
The inherent humour provides a counterbalance to the potential violence of such feelings, hinted at by the blood red paint of the portraits and the ensuing resemblance of Madame Ex’s painter’s smock to a butcher’s apron.
Whilst a portrait is painted according to the individual’s description, an organic camaraderie builds as spectators gather to observe the ritual demise of the ex lover’s image. This is left to an ingenious spin of a wheel - will it be pelted by over ripe tomatoes or suffer the paper shredder? A ceremonial mass singing of a classic break up song completes the cathartic experience.
The project goes from strength to strength! I’m really delighted to see it develop. It works brilliantly in all sorts of contexts.'
Mimi Banks, Director of Home Live Art
'A little delight of a show Madame Ex is your perfect piece for a performance festival. Madame Ex gets you entangled into memories of past encounters followed by the great pleasure of singing a break up song. I loved the show and would experience it again and again!'
Katherina Radeva- Co-director of FLINT Microfest
‘Catherine Hoffmann, is such a commanding presence…Her voice is full and gorgeous but the more bestial and primal her performance becomes, the more thrillingly alive the work feels…'
THIS IS CABARET
She glows with life as she smashes her way through 140 interviews with people,
Possessed by their accents and energy into a singing and dancing fury.’
It left me excited disturbed and confused and I like that.
Wonderful wonderful wonderful very free very inspired, kept your brain and heart moving. Constant interest. Physically beautiful. No dead moments. Where will madness lead us? Would love to see more. At last a performance, which is not, recited text. Very engaging.
When you came on you were really charismatic, I could see a lot of work had gone into this. It was Well honed, it engaged me completely. I’m loving the whole look of it the red and white it works very well. The comedic thing… I thought it was very very powerful. Strong, accessible but challenging.
Tony Lee Marketing and PR assistant for the Basement, Brighton
'Hoffmann is a compelling performer, and all the elements work in harmony…there are moments of grotesque humour (cotton wool – wadded babies emerging from ripped pillows; an ever growing collection of stinky milk bottles discovered around the bed) and surrealist investigation.'
'Lovely…Hoffmann’s multi- media stage poem evokes the joy of effacing oneself; of escaping the self into something bigger and more lasting than all of us.'
'Entranced…very bold show that treads a line between dark dread and absurd comedy.'
It is clearly evident that this is a hugely exciting piece of work, exactly in accord with CPT’s remit for presenting strongly physical and visual theatre. Your ability to discover a really integrated theatrical language is, on evidence, remarkable- the work is highly articulate even in its most ambivalent or contingent moments. The ideas are frequently surprising, the tonal qualities of the work rich and various. The textures are often dense but the organisation of elements, the total choreography of the piece, is absolutely persuasive – the viewer never feels swamped. This is already successful work.
Chris Goode, Director and Performer
I write to express my enthusiasm for ‘Falling Underground’. The show uses performance, film and live music intelligently, exploring the narrative possibilities of each discipline. The shifts from performance to film, from text based to physical performance are well executed and meaningful and the show as a whole blends the poetic and the comic well.
Pete Staves, Producer (LIFT and previously the People Show)
It was a thrilling mixture of various media- live performance, live music and video in a clever and evocative design. The simple but resonant narrative of a woman trying to return the urban environment or herself to a natural form was compelling, interesting and played with a lightness of touch that kept us guessing. I have no doubt that the work of Catherine Hoffmann as an artist has huge potential.
Tassos Stevens, Director and Performer
Molly and Me:
TRAMP is charming, witty, intelligent and very essential in its dealing with human problems. The audience will laugh - and sometimes cry - while these very talented ladies dance, sing, make music and movements to form a marvellous synthesis. A truly great performance, full of creative power, sorrow and hope.
Hanne Marie Svendsen, Author
TRAMP by critic Mette Garﬁeld
OVERGADEN Institute of Contemporary Art hosted performance duo Molly and Me with their
absurd and accomplished touring musical performance Tramp. They are dressed all in white, looking like brides or conﬁrmation candidates. Their voices are ﬁne and feminine in this anonymous gallery space. But this is where all purity and gracefulness ends. If you pay attention you’ll notice that their lyrics are ruthless and twisted as they perform accompanied by ukulele. Providing humorous descriptions of everyday situations dealing with friendship, consumerism, suicide attempts, love and animals.
One catchy tune replaces another and gets spiced up by monologues/ speeches directed at the audience. These are supported, or contrasted, by ungraceful choreographies. The lovely girls jump awkwardly, throwing about their arms and legs, exclaiming sounds like: Huh! Hah! As if by magic they shed their skin halfway through the performance. After a brief spell behind a temporary wall they return in broad striped costumes associated with past traditional prison clothing. Questioning the feminine in this way the duo comment on issues such as identity, gender and
femininity. Possibly the performance Tramp poses underlying questions to stereotypical concepts of The intimacy between the two performers and audience is surprising and earned.
Echoes of stand-up comedy and slapstick- its warmth is rare. When so much contemporary performance merely challenges boundaries and patience, it is wonderful to see a company willingly accommodate the audience.
It’s Not About US manages both a fulfilling finale and hints at irresolvable differences. A snapshot of hidden pains and irritations that blight many relationships- from flat mates to lovers, from co-workers to team mates- Molly and Me evoke laughter and reflection.
The Skinny (It’s Not About Us, CCA, April 2007)
Their music intrigues and disturbs: Hoffmann and Haslund’s tight harmonies range from super-sweet to sinister. There are moments of comedy, but it’s a decidedly dark brand of humour. It may be disquieting, even disturbing, to watch but it’s a huge step forward for a brilliantly inventive force.
Both very charismatic performers, the most challenging and most enjoyable piece of the evening... A little gem of delight.
The Arches 2008 (A Slice of Salvation)
The Ukelear Meltdown festival, now in its second year, was a celebration of all things uke, setting out to show the diversity, accessibility and yes the downright fun of the Ukulele...For me the best act in the evening came in the form of Molly and Me. Simple but special their bizarrely beautiful sound is all surreal lyrics sung in insistent harmonies with ukulele and xylophone backing.
NARC magazine (National Ukelear Meltdown Festival 2009)
A combination of The Slits, Abba and Curtis Mayfield with kazoos.
Molly and Me were awesome - Sassy with bad ass.